Michael Nugent kicks butt on miracles

Here are two clips from a recent debate in Ireland on miracles, especially the so-called “miracle cures” that supposedly occur at Lourdes, France and similar shrines. On a panel of faitheists, priests, and advocates of the divine, Michael Nugent, head of Atheist Ireland, holds his own against the existence of miracles in an intellectually hostile but civil milieu. He’s the only one who even questions these superstitions.

I recommend watching the entire debate (the second clip), if for no other reason than to see the grasp that faith still holds on Ireland, even among doctors and t.v. presenters.

YouTube gives details of the debate:

Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland debates miracles on RTE’s Spirit Level with host Joe Duffy, Fr Richard Gibbons, parish priest at Knock, Louise Hall, author of a book on Medjegorje, and Dr Michael Moran, a member of the Lourdes medical miracle assessment committee.

The first short clip shows Nugent (who apparently has done his homework) taking down the efficacy of visiting Lourdes. The statistics on rates of spontaneous cancer remission (higher than the cure rate at Lourdes!) were new to me. If you don’t have 26 minutes to watch the second clip, at least watch this 1.3 minutes of takedown:

The second, longer clip (which includes the first) shows everybody but Nugent at least holding out the possibility that visiting Lourdes (or its equivalent in Ireland, Knock) really can cure you. Note that the priest says that cures “are not a matter of statistics,” which of course is bogus. How else can you show that visiting Lourdes will help your malady? But several of the faith-osculators say, “You really have to visit it for yourself.” They argue that you can’t suss out the true efficacy of this place until you go there and “encounter the divine.” Somehow the “atmosphere of calmness, energy, and spirutually” is a substitute for real evidence of God.

Doctor Moran is an annoying waffler. When Nugent asks him, “Do you believe that Muhammad split the Moon in two?”, the doctor, an apparent believer, replies, “I don’t really have much of a background in Islam, to be honest, so I don’t know.”  And yet the doctor calls himself a scientist. The proper scientific answer would be “we have no evidence for Moon-splitting.” (One Muslim woman says that this claim isn’t part of the Qur’an, but it is (see the link above).

Here’s the full video (recommended by Professor Ceiling Cat):

Nugent gives another eloquent answer when the obviously biased presenter asks the panel at 20:23, “Would you knock Knock?” Nugent asserts that atheists can indeed have a sense of community and meaning, and that the notion that religion gives us morality is a “con,” as are miracles themselves. Father Gibbons does not look happy. Nugent goes on to ask a good question, “If you attribute the cures to God, why don’t you attribute the diseases to God?” None of the believers have an answer, of course.

Thank God (can I say that?) for people like Nugent, who provided a genial smackdown of the tawdry Catholic trade of miracles in a land where that trade is still big business. But at least the discussion is being had in public, on television, and they do include an atheist. I’m always in favor of atheists like Nugent—those who really make a difference in this world.

164 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    The Lourdes medical miracle assessment committee? Really? My brain is on the fritz now. I need a bit just to let THIS sink in.

    There are actually committees for this kind of thing? Who the hell ARE all these children, and how did they get so big?

    • Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      The initial sigh the priest lets out as he asks Michael for his opinions speaks volumes, as does his rather priceless look of concern as the opinion is given. The air seems thick with brainless, naked contempt – despite the fact that they let him on in the first place.

    • Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Amazing, innit?

      These’re people who apparently have figured out that Santa doesn’t bring them the bicycles and ponies they keep asking for at Christmas, but they still haven’t figured out that Jesus doesn’t cure their diseases at Lourdes.

      …and they have the nerve to accuse us of naïveté and a lack of sophistication!

      b&

      • Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        I am also a bit petrified of the doctor, especially — but also surprised that no one goes “wow! Cured lupus, multiple myeloma…” whatever the hell other conditions she said her friend had — a patient at Johns Hopkins no less. And (esp.) the doctor didn’t say “Wow! That is SO fantastically wonderful, and such knock-down drag-out PROOF that miracles are real!! Your friend made should make her records available! This make all kinds of headway against those who maintain there’s no such thing!! Your friend HAS been working with the teams of stumped physicians at Johns Hopkins to actually document this amazing, etc., etc….”

        No. You get blank, robotic, appreciative nods… little smug smiles all around. These people are crippled. Hobbled. Esp. their self-proclaimed man of science on the panel who never mentions objectively measuring this stuff, or drawing the obvious conclusion — that he should be taking all his terminal patients there, measuring cure rates, doing before and after heat-flash diagnostic testing. They are all so childlike… and it’s not cute. It actually frightens me that fellow humans can be so blinkered without real, bona fide psychiatric morbidity.

        • Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          Even Michael went easy on her. Frankly, I didn’t believe a word of what came out of her mouth.

          But to accuse her of either lying or repeating lies…would be too upsetting, so we just don’t do that sort of thing.

          Stories like that are great ’round the campfire. But as soon as they get repeated in the light of day, they get damned weird and spooky…and you’re made out to be the crazy pariah if you have the temerity to point that out.

          b&

          • Kevin
            Posted November 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

            God bless technology: campfires have never been the same since the internet. This is how UFOs will eventually die too:

            (Note before science fiction I imagine the number of UFOs was zero)
            1940s – 9
            1950s – 10
            1960s – 7
            1970s – 5
            1980s – 2
            1990s – 1
            2000s – 8 (rise of smart phones)
            2010s – 1 (ubiquity of smart phones, i.e., independent verification)

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFO_sightings_in_the_United_States

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

              Before the advent of SF … well there’s one question – Wells, Verne, or the guy with the swan-towed chariot to the moon?
              But that aside, there’s the pedantic point that people have been misidentifying flying objects for a lot longer than humans have had flight. Previous explanations may well include Rocs, Thor/ Loki/ Midgard Serpent fighting amongst themselves, someone getting a smiting from Zeuspitedin …
              I’m just wondering what was said, at the time, about the 1492 event.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            But to accuse her of either lying or repeating lies…would be too upsetting, so we just don’t do that sort of thing

            Using the “Royal We” again? Include me out.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

              Dammit – video cuts out on posting a comment, and won’t resume. Bloody secured networks.

          • pali
            Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

            Oh, I’d not be surprised if the woman on the show believes what she was spewing, but a quick bit of searching for Colleen Willard gives me no reason to believe anything that SHE says. I found one or two news sources referencing her years after her supposed healing, mostly just as a small part of pieces (surprisingly balanced ones with skeptical positions represented too) regarding Medjugorje, a lot of blog posts with no sources, a number of religious sites again regurgitating her story, quite a few speaking engagements that Willard was invited to… yet curiously, not a single one has any quotes from, or even names of, any of the doctors that supposedly diagnosed her with all these illnesses, who verified that they had suddenly and inexplicably vanished, who would surely have written papers or contacted colleagues about such an incredible instant recovery from up to 15 illnesses.

            It’s almost as if, as far as the medical community is concerned, the entire thing didn’t even happen. Huh…

            • Paul S.
              Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

              Found one quote from Colleen Willard;
              “It wasn’t actually confirmed as cancer, because they could not even do a biopsy,” Colleen said later. “It was an inoperable brain tumor that sat right in front of the hypothalamus gland next to the major blood vessel in the brain.”
              So it seems she’d done some self diagnoses, and/or she just made it up to get on the talk circuit.

            • Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

              But it’s a no-win situation for those who play those types of games. If the woman on the show really does believe the story she told, she’s a foolish dupe. If she doesn’t, she’s a liar. There is no scenario in which she could have told that story where she remains a trustworthy and credible member of society.

              So, either you have to point out that, no, she’s actually not a trustworthy and credible member of society, which is one of the highest insults you could offer, or you have to smile and nod and play along.

              I’m all for calling her on the lies, but it’s hardly surprising that so few are.

              b&

  3. francis
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    ….I just don’t believe in miracles…

    • Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Well, it’s a miracle people aren’t getting ill from all the doodoo in that holy water! Science cannot explain that!

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      “Miracles are bunk” (John Updike)

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 1:23 am | Permalink

      That means a lot, coming from a pope…

      • pali
        Posted November 26, 2014 at 1:26 am | Permalink

        If one pope calls something a miracle (while speaking ex cathedra), yet another says it isn’t (again speaking ex cathedra)… who wins?

        I want a Pope Off, damnit. Live on HBO.

  4. Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    My Derry uncle went to Lourdes for the cure: broke his leg stepping off the plane. True story! x

    • Kieran
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Bird defecated on me

      • Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Godwit?

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 26, 2014 at 1:24 am | Permalink

          Good one. 😀

      • Posted November 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        The Loony Bird of Lourdes?

        • kieran
          Posted November 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

          Had to use the taps of holy water to wash my head

          • Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

            Likely adding even more poop to your hair

            • Kieran
              Posted November 26, 2014 at 6:29 am | Permalink

              Now I feel dirty!

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            … and the washings get pumped straight back into the font.

    • Graham Martin-Royle
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      I’ve been to Lourdes several times (I drove tourist coaches around Europe and it was part of the itinerary), I never saw a miracle, I never felt the holy spirit and the whole tawdry place depressed rather than inspired me.

      • Gordon
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        A friend who went there who I met the next day in Pau (I only went through it on the bus but still have my slightly weird foot defect) went on about the tawdry nature of the place at some length.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          went on about the tawdry nature of the place at some length.

          Was he channelling Martin Luther at the time. I believe the sale of Papal Indulgences (with or without attached Vatican Air tickets) was one of Luther’s complaints.

  5. still learning
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Something’s wrong. When I look at the post, the videos are of a praying mantis and G’kar. After clicking on comments, the videos are the correct ones. Maybe it’s just my computer??

    • still learning
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Never mind. Refreshing the page did the trick.

      • Dave
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        It’s a miracle!!!

    • jaxkayaker
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Try sprinkling your computer with holy water.

      • merilee
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        I always knew holy water was full of shit, but now I know that’s literally true…

        • SimonF
          Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          Maybe we should start calling it “arseholey water”
          😦

          • Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

            Personally blessed by the Poop.

            • jaxkayaker
              Posted November 26, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

              I think you mean his hole-yness, the Poop.

      • Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Or, holy shit as it’s known colloquially.

        • merilee
          Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          +1 holy shit

      • Tulse
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        If you sprinkle your computer with holy water, you may get the holy smoke to come out of it, but then it will go into deep contemplative silence.

        And for heaven’s sake, don’t hold onto your computer when you baptize it, or you may feel the spirit of the Lord move through you quite vigorously.

  6. Dominic
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Thank Ceiling cat!

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Any word yet on why the Lord shows no love for amputees? I’d settle for a regrown finger — hell, I’d settle for a bald guy getting poofed a TV-preacher’s head-of-hair (especially if it came right off of the TV preacher’s head).

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Curing an amputee – or for a case less open to moral ambiguities, a Thalidomide &tm; victim – would be too clearly a proof of the existence of a god, and proof denies faith, and without faith, god is nothing.
      Douglas Adams queered the pitch for that particular off-leg googlie.

      • Pali
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Gotta love the heads-I-win-tails-you-lose situation the faithful have built for themselves. performed a bunch of miracles, proving to us that he is god, and it maybe sometimes still does miracles now – but when it doesn’t do miracles, that’s because it wants us to have faith without proof.

        The cognitive dissonance gives me headaches.

        • Pali
          Posted November 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

          “God performed…” rather.

      • BillyJoe
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        …um…off leg googly

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

          I would bow to your superior knowledge. But it’s cricket, that ancient relic race memory of terrible galactic wars of destruction and is not a subject for humour.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      There was a very funny (fictional) piece in the Wittenberg Door once, about a guy who went to visit a faith healer who “healed” by laying on hands. The guy, when his turn came and he was asked what his problem was, told the healer that he was impotent. The healer balked, and the guy writing the spoof commented “I guess god cares more about colds than he does about families.”

  8. Randy Schenck
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    You have to give it to Michael Nugent to go on such a show surrounded by the religious. Kind of gives you the creeps.

  9. Robert Seidel
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    So the water in Lourdes is contaminated by germs? Quelle surprise!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Quelle surprise!

      While Ben is collecting potential trade marks – there’s one for selling kaolin+morphia tablets in France. And Quebec.

  10. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Ugh miracles. It drives me crazy that people talk about these things being real yet still rely on science to cure what ails them or prevent what could ail them.

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Although on the other hand, people who deny their children medical treatment on religious grounds are equally, if not more,creepy.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Creepy but consistent I suppose.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Denying a child effective medical treatment is obscene, not creepy. Pedobear is creepy, but not obscene.

    • Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      True enough, but I’d rather they take the medicine – and more importantly give their kids the medicine – and not rely on the supernatural. We’ve seen what happens when people do that and it is not pretty. Take the chemo and the radiation and then thank God for your recovery; the hospital still gets its money so it’s a win-win!

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      A lot of the people from Ireland who head over to Lourdes aren’t really ill in any way, they are just credulous with notions of piety and are no more exploited than those who buy crystals or go to Burning Man. In other words, it is entertainment of their choice.

      What is horrible is the really ill or infirm who struggle across to Lourdes for a cure, and are exposed to germs and disease and discomfort and additional expenses they didn’t need to bear. That sort of exploitation is unforgivable.

      • GBJames
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        The all seem equally credulous, it’s just that some of them are sick. Either way, it is exploitation, IMO.

        • Grania Spingies
          Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          Yes, but an adult of sound mind and body really has no-one to blame but themselves and their lack of Google-fu.

          • GBJames
            Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            “…adult of sound mind…”

            I think this has been ruled out. 😉

      • marvol19
        Posted November 26, 2014 at 1:07 am | Permalink

        Yep, my girlfriend’s parents and their siblings and friends go every year.

        Not a bother to them, they’re not ill, but they like the trip, the socialising with their friends, and the Goddy atmosphere.

        That’s the generation of immediately after WWII, still heavily Catholic but in a more… Fluffy way than one before.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Ah, a Canadian, eh. Just as I was thinking about devious circumventions for which I need a Canadian address. (Or US-ian)
      Can you contact me off-board? If you’re into circumventing the law, in a perfectly morally defensible context. Or any of the other Canadians.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        I’m going to be useless over the next little while so perhaps some of the others can help out.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          Merilee?
          Ummm, other Canukistanians?

          • Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

            I need more details…and how would I contact you?

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

              Shhhh talk in code – the NSA is listening!

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

              Some blog^Gviated excuses for websites can send a private message between registered users without disclosing each other’s address to the rest of the world (and to spammer’s screen scrapers). I don’t see a way to do it here. But WTF.
              Drop me a mail on aidan_karley [at] yahoo.co.uk .
              What it’s about – the Canadian Mint have produced another of their “dinosaur” series of coins, but won’t ship it outside North America (i.e. Canada/ US). So to get my coin album loaded with a Xenoceratops, I need a collaborator in North America.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

                Just an FYI, I keep an eye out for the new dinosaur coins & Xenoceratops isn’t new. I just wanted to warn you because I got their email & I kept thinking I already had that coin but then I thought it was also a new coin because of the way the email described it! So, I checked when I got home & I do already have it.

                If you don’t already have it though, you will like it. It’s quite nice & Julius Csotonyi does the artwork for that one as well as the glow-in-the-dark coins.

              • merilee
                Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

                Where did you get your glow-in-the-dark coins, Diana! I tried to get some a few years ago, and none of my local PO’s had even heard of them. I called the main PO in Ottawa and they said they were all sold out but would let me know when they got some more in. Never heard…

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

                I order them directly from The Canadian Mint

              • Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

                I don’t see any of the glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs off-hand…

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

                The series is “Prehistoric Creatures” so I searched that on the site. Looks like only Tiktaalik is available now.

                You can probably find the others on E-bay though.

              • merilee
                Posted November 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

                Thanks, Diana. That river rapids one is gorgeous, too!

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

                It’s new to me. I had a bit of a thing for coins for years, but started getting more into them in the last decade or so as I’ve been travelling more widely. It’s just “rude words ; circumvent” when I discover they won’t ship the silver coins outside North America.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

                I actually discovered that the last coin of the series: Albertasaurus Sarcophagus is available. I put out the alert that someone could get it for me for Xmas or I’d buy it myself if they didn’t want to & my mom ordered it for me. 🙂

                Ancient Greek Lesson: Sarcophagus means “flesh eater” so it makes sense in the context of a predatory dinosaur as well as a coffin.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

                Oh, also you can get Canadian coins from international dealers. I don’t know if those work for you – don’t know if they have the same stock.

                It’s stupid the Canadian Mint won’t ship outside Canada.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

                30% mark up via the international dealers.

              • GBJames
                Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

                Their home page says they do ship to the US on their $20 for $20 and $50 for $50 coin program. (I guess they make money on the exchange rate.)

              • merilee
                Posted November 27, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

                Aidan, did you get my email late last night re: the coins?

  11. Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Is it me, or is there something especially wonderful about hearing confident rationality spoken in a lovely Irish lilt? When people talk about the good vibes one gets from visiting a place like Lourdes, I can’t help but think: so? If hope and solace were the point, why not pursue hope and solace at home, with family and friends? The time and money wasted on these pilgrimages make me sad for people who are in pain and understandably frightened by the future. It’s fascinating that the lack of success doesn’t deter people from pinning their hopes on the magic, but it’s cruelty and a scandal that clergy indulge and promote it when they know perfectly well it is useless. Mr. Nugent is very brave and tolerant to remain so calm faced with those malarkey peddlers. So glad to know he’s out there!

  12. DrDroid
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    My takeaway: The religious will find confirmation of their beliefs everywhere and will excuse any failures by their god as attributable to his (her?) infinite and inscrutable wisdom. In short, there’s no point in arguing with these people, their minds have been hijacked by the virus of faith. There is, however, the possibility that people like Michael Nugent may influence listeners who are not already terminally ill with a viral faith infection.

    • still learning
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      “viral faith infection” That would be Toxiplasma godii.

      • Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        🙂

      • DrDroid
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        I like it. :-))

      • BillyJoe
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately, Toxoplasma gondii is not a virus.

    • Sastra
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      No point in arguing with “these people?” Which people? The ones on the panel? All of them? Some? Just that one?

      How can you be so sure that a mind has been “hijacked by the virus of faith?” It’s a lovely expression, but it’s still a metaphor. There hasn’t been a scientist doing lab work publishing results with “no, there’s just too much virus in the system for the mind to recover. The viruses muscled their way to the Ghost in the Machine with guns and a demand to fly to Heaven.”

      My point is that we really can’t tell. People who seem to be deeply entrenched do sometimes manage to change their minds. People who ARE deeply entrenched change their minds, too — and it doesn’t take a miracle. Sometimes the mere fact that you’re listening to an articulate defense of the other side changes the view that the Other Side is a bunch of know-nothing, shallow thinkers.

      If anyone on that panel had thought that, I bet they changed their minds. Improvement counts. Movement matters. A little bit more doubt, a little bit less smug certainty, all around.

      • DrDroid
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        My success rate has not been good, but perhaps you are better at it than me. You are right, properly approached even religious people are sometime “deconverted” by planting questions in their minds. My limited sample suggests that religious people have no interest in questioning their beliefs, in fact are scared of it.

        • Henry Fitzgerald
          Posted November 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          That’s the experience you get from the point of view of someone attempting to change someone else’s mind – but think of occasions where you’ve changed your mind about something. If you’re like me, it probably didn’t happen immediately on being presented with whatever argument convinced you, but rather at some time afterwards – long after whoever convinced you was out of the room and far away. If you’re like me, then whichever people have changed your mind in the past, they are probably unaware of it.

          And research suggests we can’t even recall many of the times we’ve changed our minds – because unless we keep meticulous records we tend to believe that whatever we now believe, we’ve always believed. Which means that even more mind-changing is going on, right now, unsuspected and unnoticed.

          • DrDroid
            Posted November 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

            I’m not naive enough to expect a sudden epiphany in which a believer sees the light and “deconverts” on the spot. I generally try to raise questions like “If you were born in the Middle East what religion do you think you might subscribe to?”. But in my (limited) experience believers do not want to even start down that road. You raise the hope that a believer may think about such questions days/weeks/months/years later and begin the slow process of changing their minds. I hope that happens.

      • Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Ramen, sister. We’ve far too many examples — including people reading these here words — of diehard fundamentalists coming to their senses, and many of them can trace the start of that process to exactly the sorts of challenges Michael presented in this TV segment.

        Might not be huge numbers, but it’s a significant percentage of who we are.

        b&

        • Sastra
          Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Indeed. Iirc Dawkins included the “you’re just wasting your time with them” atheists in a list of varieties of accomodationism. It’s a Little People argument.

          • Posted November 25, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

            And, since you remind me of Richard…he’s also one to make that point that, even if your words are addressed to one of the hopeless, you can still direct them to those in the audience who aren’t hopeless. Good advice: never forget to also play to the peanut gallery.

            b&

      • Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        I, for one, was one of those people 15 years ago or so. I had the nerve to tell classmates in a freshman college course on religion that they would go to Hell because God loves them and will let them go freely if that’s the path they take. Yes, sometimes “those people” simply haven’t been introduced to the coherent arguments of the other side. Sometimes hearing the arguments makes one realize just who it is who is telling the lies.

  13. Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I can’t take in the stunning majesty of Mount Everest by watching a movie about it. I have to actually go there to truly grasp it’s grandeur. I do not however, have to visit it to determine whether it is reasonable to believe people roller bladed to the summit. The same goes for Lourdes and healing powers.

    • Gamall
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Actually, being near-sighted (and hating glasses), I for one would not benefit from physically going to mount Everest. The pictures on my screen are much sharper, thankyouvermuch 😛

      • Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        Now that you mention it, I can see the full picture of Lourdes quite clearly on my screen too. And with much less trouble than passing through customs.

  14. Andrew Jackson
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Dr Michael Moran strikes me as the most insidious of the lot. A medical doctor who believes quite literally in miracles, and would shun Michael Nugent’s objective statistics on rates of spontaneous cures? http://www.irishcatholic.ie/article/lourdes-i-feel-one-god

  15. Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    It’s funny how miracles depend on latitude and longitude. God shows partiality towards specific parallels and meridians. I guess you just “had to be there.”

    • Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      I think it has something to do with the proximity to an highly-profitable religious-themed gift shop….

      b&

  16. Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Yes, Michael Nugent seems to be great. And I love your last sentence. It’s like a guided missile.

  17. Hans van den Bos
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Read: Emile Zola – Lourdes, a great book about this subject. see: http://joyceance.blogspot.ie/p/from-three-cities-emile-zola.html

  18. allison
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    If there’s such a thing as an “Atheist of the Year” award I can think of no one more deserving than Michael Nugent in 2014. He’s done fantastic work this year and deserves more acclaim for his efforts.

    • Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      The first short clip shows Nugent (who apparently has done his homework) taking down the efficacy of visiting Lourdes.

      I tend to dismiss nonsense out of hand and I don’t have his patience with opponents or his eye for forensic detail. I can’t deal with people who are wilfully ignorant or obtuse; I just can’t bridge that gap between them and me.

      Atheism needs more like him.

      • rickflick
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Exactly what I was thinking. At times he seemed to be nodding as they spoke, as if he was urging them to dig a deeper pit for themselves. I think he enjoys this process. Which is a good way to make it doable.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      “Atheist of the Year – Limitless Patience Category”

  19. Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I’m always in favor of atheists like Nugent—those who really make a difference in this world.

    I’m also impressed by Michael Nugent and the achievements of Atheist Ireland. I invite readers to have a look through this list.

  20. jbrisby
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Why are you defending a known defender of a known rapist? Is it because your blog is a haven for rape-defender-defenders?

    • Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Let’s drop this detour right now, shall we?

      • jbrisby
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Killjoy.

        • mrclaw69
          Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

          @jbrisby

          Both and WTF…?

          • mrclaw69
            Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            Okay MrClaw – next time remember that putting things in triangular brackets means they don’t show up.

            Curse you HTML!!!

            • Pali
              Posted November 25, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

              Made the same error on a post above myself. 😉

  21. Ken Elliott
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    So, the assertion of a miracle cure for terminally ill Colleen Willard is interesting. Apparently she has indeed been cured of her terminal illness? But who knows exactly when or where the effects of her tumor became eradicated. I’ve only briefly looked at my Google search results. Even if she arrived in Medjujorge with the tumor and left without it, it’s only one case. That is an anomaly. As Mr. Nugent pointed out there is a severe lack of trending for the occurrence of miracles at these places. There is an incredible amount of blinkered thinking by the religious in attendance of this gathering, may reason be upon them.

    • Sastra
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      My understanding is that there’s a lot of confusion and confounding factors in almost all individual histories of complicated illnesses. Skeptics who wield science-based medicine against alternative medicine claims are very familiar with the problems of diagnosis, documentation, recall, and spin.

    • aljones909
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      The Willard story looks highly suspicious but, as usual, the faithful have accepted her claims at face value. A supporter says that as well as brain cancer – “She had rickets, her thyroid had completely dried up to the size of a raisin, she had lupus, fibromyalgia and nine other painful and deadly illnesses.”. Some of them even say she had MS.
      At the holy shrine, after some praying and stuff, she got out of her wheelchair and walked back to her hotel.
      The next day she hiked up some holy hill. Truly miraculous when you consider the muscle wastage that must have taken place when confined to a wheelchair.
      What possible motive could someone have for making all this up?

  22. Amy
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Does anyone know the history & meaning of the photo & name “ceiling cat”? — I got a rather odd answer a few days ago.

  23. Scientifik
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    “Thank God (can I say that?) for people like Nugent”

    Personally I eschew crediting God for anything, even in secular sense to merely imply a chance event. To me it’s essentially like saying, thank god for doctors who whelped cure someone’s cancer, or thank god for people who invented the internet and computers, etc.

    • Sastra
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      I’ve noticed that the word does get used in secular contexts like WEIT but the spelling changes — as in “gawd forbid” or “oh gawd not this argument again.”

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 1:40 am | Permalink

      Pretty soon all those usages are going to be just atheist metaphors, and the sooner the better. I see no reason not to co-opt them for our purposes. The language can linger long after the belief’s died.

      • Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        After all, “goodbye” is just the modern contraction of, “God be with ye.” I don’t think any of us have any problem with that word — nor should we.

        I’m all for using the names of the gods in vain. Good God, what else are they good for?

        b&

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted November 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          By Jove, you’re right!

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          Absolutely.

          Hey, Diana’s already a goddess. (Not that I want to take her name in vain, of course…)

          • Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            Why — you’d rather take your own name in vain?

            Some of us have to content ourselves with living with a god rather than being of divine designation ourselves….

            b&

            • Diane G.
              Posted November 26, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

              My spelling is not as appealing as hers…

              I live with 2 gods but also 2 subjects (d*gs). Like the guy with one foot on a hot stove and one in an ice bath, on the average it’s pretty comfortable.

              • Posted November 26, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

                On average, that post was more than averagely funny.

                b&

  24. mrclaw69
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Hi Jerry.

    Surprised you’d not heard about the rate of ‘miracles’ at Lourdes vs the rates of spontaneous cancer remission before. Pretty sure Sagan brings this up in The Demon Haunted Wold…

    (I think it was TDHW anyway. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong)

    Still – always good to see the snake-oil peddlers taken down.

    Good work Michael!

  25. Sastra
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    But several of the faith-osculators say, “You really have to visit it for yourself.” They argue that you can’t suss out the true efficacy of this place until you go there and “encounter the divine.” Somehow the “atmosphere of calmness, energy, and spirutually” is a substitute for real evidence of God.

    What counts as a “miracle” is remarkably fluid. In fact, it’s one of those deepities Dennett talks about, another opportunity for the religious to play mental bait-and-switch with ideas in hopes that the reasonableness of one secular interpretation of “miracle” will somehow spill over into what they really mean when they use that word.

    And sure, there’s a reasonable secular use of the word “miracle.” It can mean anything surprising or unexpected — but welcome. “It’s a miracle I didn’t have an accident coming home last night in the freezing rain.” Yeah, that lowers the bar.

    But even more frustrating is the insistence that all happiness, all joy, all things bright and beautiful are “miracles.” Once again, anything counts — but it’s gotten darker for the atheist. If you don’t believe in “miracles” they get to react as if you just said you don’t believe in wonder, or peacefulness, or bliss. You lack feelings. You really have to visit for yourself — but keep your mind and heart open.

    Sneaky bastards change the topic when it looks like they’re getting creamed.

    And odds are that they themselves are blissfully unaware — because religious thinking deals in deepities. It trades on sloppy thinking all the way down. Sometimes they’re talking about supernatural health cures, sometimes they’re talking about faith in God, sometimes they’re talking about a sense of awe and wonder. Dance around and move the frames. Whatever works.

    • mrclaw69
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Of course, they will also proclaim (if you were to take their bait) that if you experienced no ‘miracle’ it’s because you “didn’t open yourself up spiritually”.

      Oh! the armour of god…

    • mrclaw69
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Presumably the thought goes that to be an atheist means to live alone in a white, sterile maths-cube…

      • Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        But that would still beat living in a brown, fecal matter infested Church any day. The beauty of Calculus versus the “beauty” of a man hung on a bronze age torture device? Not even a choice…

        • merilee
          Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          Calculus is orders of magnitude more beautiful.

    • Vaal
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Then there’s the “miracle of birth.”

      As usual, The Onion nailed it:

      http://www.theonion.com/articles/miracle-of-birth-occurs-for-83-billionth-time,775/

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        That’s marvelous!

        Or, as Heinlein put it in Time Enough for Love: “The shamans are forever yacking about their snake-oil “miracles.” I prefer the Real McCoy — a pregnant woman.”

    • kieran
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      He’s talking about Knock, it’s in Mayo, has an airport with a very long runway and like Lourdes is full plastic gimmickry. I’ve been to Knock and Lourdes both really are tacky as anything. Lourdes is an architectural monstrosity although if you have a skateboard it might actually be fun!

      I actually did take a wrong turn in Charlestown once, staggered crossroads!

      Although only knock has a song about it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsJPW5kCZNo

  26. Hal
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    On the subject of miracles, this from The Onion:

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/god-answers-prayers-of-paralyzed-little-boy,475/

    • Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Ouch.

      That one article strikes me as more powerful than any anti-theism article that I’ve ever read.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        That’s high praise. Following link …

        Witnesses said God issued His miraculous answer in the form of a towering column of clouds, from which poured forth great beams of Divine light and the music of the Heavenly Hosts. The miraculous event took place in the Children’s Special Care Ward of St. Luke’s Hospital, where Timmy goes three times a week for an excruciating two-hour procedure to drain excess fluid from his damaged spinal column.

        Powerful testimony – not that I’ll repeat the hands-on-balls idea-trap.

        Said Angela Schlosser, a day nurse who witnessed the Divine Manifestation: “An incredible, booming voice said to Timmy, ‘I am the Lord thy God, who created the rivers and the mountains, the heavens and the earth, the sun and the moon and the stars. Before Me sits My beloved child, whose faith is that of the mustard seed from which grows mighty and powerful things. My child, Timmy Yu, I say unto you thus: I have heard your prayers, and now I shall answer them.

        [Spoiler Alert]
        I won’t spoil the surprise.

        Asked for comment, God said: “This kind-hearted child’s simple prayer hath moved Me. Never before have I seen such faith. His trusting soul, so full of innocent devotion to Me, hath offered seventy times seven prayers asking, ‘God? Can I please walk again?’ It was indeed right and fitting that I, in My infinite wisdom, should share with him the One True Answer to this long-repeated question he put before Me.”
        “My will be done,” God added.

        This must be transported on a special internet port address for HTVPTP (HyperText Vitriol-Proof Transport Protocol).
        Those bad-weather driving tips for idiots look useful. I’m sure they’ll be ignored. (Oh, other people probably get served different links?)

  27. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    When Nugent asks him, “Do you believe that Muhammad split the Moon in two?”

    I had never heard of this split moon nonsense. I was also surprised to see on the linked Wikipedia page a painting which features the prophet Mohammed. Why have there not been riots over this?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I only saw it on Doctor Who this season (the moon splitting that is). Now I wonder if there was some sort of influence of Islam on that episode.

      • BillyJoe
        Posted November 26, 2014 at 4:20 am | Permalink

        Clara is a muslim?

  28. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I’ve had a cough and recurrent cold for about 4 months. I’m better now (thanks for asking). It’s not a miracle! Praise not be!.

    Negative reporting is just not as impressive is it?

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      There’s no money in it.

  29. ltunmer
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    As well as the question “why God doesn’t save the majority of people in a plane crash except for the few miracle survivors”, the believers in these sorts of places need to be asked why their God appears to
    ignore the prayers of ill people until they actually make a trip to one of them. Does he ignore them while they are praying fervently at home because they are clearly not showing enough devotion to him by
    not getting off their arses? Once they do, he might just consider curing them, but no promises, mind. It’s that “working in mysterious ways” excuse again. This God clearly enjoys toying with his flock just a little too much!

    • DrBrydon
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Good point. I think, though, that this sort of thing is predominantly Catholic, and Catholicism is based upon intercessory powers of people (whether clergy or saints), and, I guess, places. The notion that god can be appealed to directly is, in the West, a Protestant notion.

    • SQuiller
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      The Old Testament in a nutshell. “Kiss my arse or die”.

    • eric
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Yes; claims such as the Lourdes one always seem to me to support an evil God more than a good one. After all, even if we take the miracle claims at their word, that still just seems to support the notion that God designed his miracle-stations the way the casino industry designs slot machines: with small, erratic payoffs that occur just enough to keep some people hooked. How is that benevolent?

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted November 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        It’s kind of appropriate that B. F. Skinner did his reward/response testing on pigeons.

        To test just how much effort an animal will put into getting a small food reward, slowly increasing the number of times the lever must be pressed will make it give up eventually. Not so soon, however, if randomness is added in. Then the average amount of effort required to the rewards can be significantly increased.

        Pigeon, meet gambler. Knowing this is so doesn’t stop me from playing computer games where huge amounts of time and repetitive effort are necessary to get the randomly dropped ‘elite’ items.

    • Vaal
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, that’s what I was going to bring up too.

      It’s amazing to watch the “scientist” and the priest talk of the skeptical rigor and time they bring to evaluating miracles.

      But then, when they have decided that some vanishingly teeny number of people have experienced a miraculous cure out of the millions and millions who try…it’s like the
      hypothesizing just stops dead.

      They should immediately be asking what in the world this would imply about a God.
      What possible rational would God have to be so miserly and utterly random with miracles, and bury them so deeply within the noise of all the other run-of-the-mill naturalistic experiences. Almost every person who makes the effort to show up, including praying deeply for cure of their suffering, gets a big “F You” from God, and he mysteriously spends his Ultimate Power on a random handful, with no explanation given for the apparent randomness of this dispensation.

      They choose THIS over simply acknowledging they haven’t found an explanation.

      The mystery of God can swallow any problem once you allow it into your bag of tricks, it seems.

  30. Jeff Rankin
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Re splitting the moon in twain:

    I don’t really have much of a background in Islam, to be honest, so I don’t know.

    What is he expecting to find in the Qur’an, a diagram or something? Plans for a moon-slitting machine? What information would be convincing?

    I’m staggered by his unwillingness to be honest. Although more staggering is the extent to which I’m still surprised that people behave this way – they just need it so badly.

  31. DrBrydon
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I agree. Nugent is to be applauded both for be part of the panel and for the way he comported himself.

    Interesting that Father Gibbons doesn’t (that I noticed) defend miracles himself. He seems more comfortable with the ineffable.

    Dr. Moran is a real piece of work, and hardly the best devil’s advocate for investigating miracles. His response that he would just give up if he felt that god made people sick is quite telling (and perhaps an insight into the JWs and other faith healers). Nugent handles that particularly well.

  32. Keith Cook or more
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I cannot get Father Ted, Dougal and Father (drink!!) Jack out of my head. I blame the Irish accent, but truthfully I suspect the guests apart from Nugent, brought that to the fore. That show (Father Ted) was a miracle!
    Michael Nugent gets a big thumbs up, I hope in Ireland it has a wide audience, the great unseen and we will never know it’s impact on them.
    Mrs Doyle will sort them out.

  33. Vaal
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Watching that panel just brings truth to the cliche about religion. There’s one person talking with clarity (atheist) attempting to cut through the surrounding intellectual mush espoused by the religious.

  34. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    There’s been quite a variety of visions by various people over centuries, the content of which seems to be in part determined by the cultural context of the visionary.

    However, it is less clear how to rebut them on the basis of science and history if they don’t make predictions about the future or make false statements about the past, that is if they are confined to making supernatural claims.

    I am nonetheless deeply pleased to see church trafficing in miracles being challenged by an Irish guy.

    I has a different post to this effect (now radically paraphrased) which seems to have not gotten through.

  35. friendlypig
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    According to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary prayer is:

    A petition that the laws of nature be suspended in favour of the petitioner; himself confessedly unworthy.

  36. Scientifik
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The reaction of the women in the audience in 55 sec. (first clip) is just priceless. 🙂

  37. Elizabeth Oakley
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Miracles must be one of the most difficult aspects of the synoptic Gospels. If one reads Marks Gospel, probably the first Gospel, a large number of miracles and healing incidents occur from very early on. We are too far away from these in time to know whether they were ever validated by others alive at the time. Or whether they were but these accounts no longer survive. If one were to look at accounts of healing more carefully, you would have to look at where each event was after six months, one year, two years etc, for medically these could just as equally have been remissions, or something akin to the “Hawthorne effect”, that it by giving something your attention, you have changed someone’s feelings and behaviour. One-off incident accounts of miracles are really difficult to know how to interpret now. However, many illnesses have a strong psychological if not maybe spiritual component, so by offering the prospect of healing from an unusual source, then a degree of emotional and spiritual healing could take place. Yes, this is much more likely than that serious mental and physical illnesses could be waved away by any healing hand. Afterall, illness is part of the everyday situation for humans. It is how we are made and how we die.

    • Posted November 26, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      We are too far away from these in time to know whether they were ever validated by others alive at the time.

      No, we’re not.

      The earliest Gospel, Mark, was unquestionably written well after the Roman conquest of Judea in 70 CE, as it makes clear reference to those events. The gospel is also quite clearly not an historical report but a religious allegory, complete with some rather elegant structural palindromes typical of the genre of the period. It’s written in the third person omniscient voice, and uncritically relates matter-of-factly the most bizarrely insane of supernatural events.

      Even the author of the Gospel couldn’t possibly have believed he was engaged in reportage. He was, at absolute best, re-telling a popular story much the same way that movie studios do today with remakes.

      And the other three Gospels are written after Mark and “borrow” heavily from him, so they’re no more useful.

      We then need to turn to earlier sources, the best of which is Paul. And Paul is completely ignorant of all these miracles, as well as Jesus’s own words and biography and what-not. Indeed, Paul’s Jesus is nothing more than the Jesus / Joshua of Zechariah 6 whom Philo had already identified as being the Logos. That is, Jesus is an ancient, long-standing Jewish archangel, YHWH’s anointed high priest and what-not, and Mark represents his earliest surviving euhemerized biography.

      As such, the notion that anything in the Gospels even remotely represent reality is as bizarre as the notion that you might actually find the Olympians cavorting around Mount Olympus if you climb to the top.

      Cheers,

      b&

    • Posted November 26, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      One would think a more miraculous show of divine power with regard to healing the sick would be to heal everyone on the planet for several months. Surely even the Pharisees and satirists of the day would’ve taken notice of that. I mean for a deity who launched a zombie apocalypse by opening all the graves in Jerusalem, a short spell of good health should be doable. Then again, when the spell ended, we’re right back to the Epicurean problem…

  38. chris moffatt
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    We should note that of all the people who have visited Lourdes, many several times, only a very few “miracle” cures have actually been recognized by RCC Inc. The last time I looked into this (admittedly about ten years ago) the number of such cures was about 65. Out of millions and millions and millions who have visited Lourdes hoping for a cure. Of these none were amputees and some later suffered relapses and died.

    And with regard to the fraudulent doings at Medjugorje even RCC Inc does not recognize them as authentic.


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