How Easily We are Fooled.

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Devils' Advocate, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    This is a cautionary tale about how easily humans can be fooled into thinking something miraculous has happened.

    Emergency workers were trying to extricate a woman trapped in a horribly mangled car and despaired of being able to get her out. The head rescue officer told the policeman at the scene "I don't think we can remove this girl". This was along a stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere with nothing but empty fields in every direction. All traffic was halted both ways on the highway a mile away from the accident.

    Then a priest mysteriously appeared out of nowhere and offered to pray with the victim, who he anointed with oil. Minutes later another emergency vehicle arrived with stronger equipment and the young woman was safely removed.

    When people turned to thank the priest he was gone. What's more of all the people taking pictures at the scene, the priest appears in none of them.

    A search of all the nearby churches was made to try and find the mystery priest. He was not known to any of the local houses of worship.

    People at the scene believed they had seen a miracle. An angel in the guise of a priest arrived to save that girl. Once the story went viral thousands of people believed it was an angel as well. What else could it have been. The priest was there, everyone saw him, but suddenly he was not there and none of the pictures taken showed an image of him.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/07/angel-crash-missouri/2630227/

    Only as it turns out, it was a human priest after all. He waited several days before he decided to came forward to say he was the one who stopped to help.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/13/us/missouri-mystery-priest/

    Now I did not post this to argue whether miracles happen or whether angels are real and involved in our lives.

    No. My point is that people, when confronted with a seemingly unexplanatory experience are too quick to chalk it up to metaphysical event. It just so happened here that the priest simply did not end up in any of the pictures that were taken at the scene. Unusual, but not impossible. That he 'vanished' as quickly as he arrived; well there is a lot of hectic running around at an accident scene, especially one as dire as this one. That the responders were focusing all their efforts on the girl in the wreck explains why they did not see the priest show up, or leave.

    But if the priest had not come forward, this would have remained a miracle of God by the millions who believe such things happen. And would have gone down in the books for decades to come as an example of a genuine miracle.

    The lack of evidence for this being an ordinary event did not mean this was an extraordinary event.
     
  2. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    Just because the Priest turned out not to be an angel, doesn't mean a metaphysical event didn't take place. The naysayers and doubters among us may well scuff, but the true miracle was in the Priest being there when he was to offer prayer and anointment. As witnessed by the timing of the second better equipped emergency response team.
    Nor does it mean it wasn't.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  3. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    Events you describe seem pretty miraculous to me. Direct angelic influence not withstanding. As to whether or not we are easily fooled by such events, I'd have to say without a doubt. Question is, are those who believe a miracle took place been duped or those who think it hasn't? Put me down for the latter.
     
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  4. Nasruddin

    Nasruddin Well-Known Member

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    The fact is, our brain can be fooled in so many ways it isn't funny. Most folks don't want to know that because they are only interested in how other people can be fooled. All it takes is a psych 101 class to point out how all our senses are routinely fooled, but we fail to notice. The list of cognitive biases is long and there are few who wish to read it.
     
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  5. Elfiet

    Elfiet Comme je fus

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    Total agreement here. I believe the woman was blessed to have this priest come forward with prayer in such an event. I do not read the story as the priest saved her ..... that credit belongs to the second emergency vehicle.

    Makes me think of movie I recently watched, "God is Not Dead". (spoiler alert). In the end of the movie a priest has a series of events causing delays of a planned trip. Finally on the road to go, the priest witnesses a fatal traffic incident that leaves a man dying on the the street. The priest assists this man through finding faith and offering last rites. Devine intervention for the priest being there???
     
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  6. EdgyDolmen

    EdgyDolmen Well-Known Member

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    There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
    - Albert Einstein
     
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  7. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Or coincidence that timing put him there. If these were actual miraculous events, priests would be led to show up at all such traumatic events. The large majority of cases that does not happen. So you are all suggesting God plays favorites? A few are worthy of intervention and the majority are not?
     
  8. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    Indeed. No need for a psych class on that one. Both the Bhagavad Gita and the Holy Bible warn us of such. Of course, few wish to read those either.
    Very true. I just find it interesting that the second emergency crew showed up after the Priest had prayed for and anointed the victim.
    Divine influences are often dismissed as coincidence, but the way I see it, a coincidence is two people bringing the exact same gift to a Birthday party not someone arriving in the nick of time to save a life.
    I think it's more a case of man interfering with or not recognizing Divine Intervention when it happens. For instance if the first responders had held the Priest back or if the Priest had a feeling he should take that road today, but failed to do so. The outcome may have been very different. It's the same old story though. Since everything worked out, man is quick to dismiss God and take the credit for himself. Had things not worked out, then it's, why did God let this happen?
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
  9. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    By that logic, every time an ambulance saves someone life it's a miracle?
     
  10. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    Much truth in sarcasm sometimes.:rolleyes:
     
  11. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    The issue I have with what you are saying NJ, is that by your definition the meaning of 'miracle' no longer holds any value. Every time an ambulance saves a life it is a miracle?
     
  12. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    Merriam-Webster defines miracle as:
    1: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
    2: an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment
    3 : a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law

    Now if you ask me, saving a life is pretty damn miraculous. Comes down to this though, some of us see God in all things. Some of us do not. Some say it is man. Some say it is God. The ultimate impasse once again.
     
  13. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Have to say that the direction this thread has taken is baffling to me. I stated in the OP it was not my purpose to argue the validity of miracles; rather to point out how seemingly miraculous events can often have very simple, down to earth explanations.

    To my surprise, and it is a surprise, the majority of posts are insisting this coincidence was a miracle. The original story was that a priest appeared out of nowhere to pray for this girl, then disappeared again. That despite all the pictures being taken at the scene he appeared in none of them. The implication was that it was not a mortal, but a supernatural agency at work. He didn't show up in the pictures because he was a supernatural entity.

    That is the original story as it was reported.

    Only it turns out it was the work of a mortal who just happened to be close to the scene and stepped up to help. It was not a supernatural agent after all. That was the point of the story.

    Except most here want to insist that even though the priest was not a supernatural being, as the people at the scene believed, that it is somehow still a miracle because the priest coincidently happened to be close by. Even more confusing to me is the comments that the second truck with the better equipment arrived moments later as if that is some sort of divine intervention. That truck had already been dispatched and on the way. It would have arrived when it did whether the priest was present or not.
     
  14. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    I think the OP was addressed, but since the very premise challenges the validity of this one event being a miracle, that needed to be addressed as well. It looks like everyone is in agreement that, like the title of the thread suggests, we are easily fooled. We can fool ourselves into believing anything. This is true. However, as Aussie points out in #3, that goes both ways. Either those who think a miracle took place are fooling themselves or those who insist it was a mere coincidence are fooling themselves. Typically, believers will take one side and non-believers the other and trying to sway either one is pointless.
     
  15. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    Maybe, but it's also possible that gal would've died anyway had the Priest not given her the hope she needed to hang on.
     
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  16. Nasruddin

    Nasruddin Well-Known Member

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    And this surprises you? o_O
     
  17. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    It does. I admit it. lol. I am, apparently, easily fooled myself!
     
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  18. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    No sarcasm, just a question.
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Here's where I see another version: We are all supernatural entities. If I may paraphrase Ahanu from elsewhere, we are all teleologically aligned towards the transcendent.

    Where I would mark a distinction is that I would expect, indeed require, someone in holy orders to be aware that he or she was a supernatural entity, or at least the natural agent of one, in the same way that I assume a doctor does not shelf the Hippocratic Oath when s/he takes off the white coat.

    Quite. The idea that the truck arrived just in time being a miracle I refute, on the basis that if God intervened to make sure the truck arrived on time, did God also intervene in those occasions when it arrived too late? Or just not bother? And if so, on what basis? A whole can of theological worms if we accept the premise, so we (should) refute it. Jesus did, when He spoke of those killed by the collapse of the tower at Siloe (Luke 13:4). They did not die because they were more guilty, they died because shit happens.

    Religion is not a magic wand to make the shit go away. But I will readily admit that many speaks as though it was, without thinking it through.

    Theologically, it's a nightmare. Humanly, it's understandable.

    Sometimes, for a man dying of thirst in the desert, a passer-by offering a glass of water is enough to save a life. But sometimes, what matters more to the dying man is not the glass of water – albeit a necessary – but that someone bothered to stop and offer assistance.

    The water saves my life. The offer validates my existence ...
     
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  20. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    I think you just hit the nail on the head there old son! I see, the miracle was not the second emergency team showing up, but rather the Priest being there to provide what she needed to hang on until they did. Well done.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016

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