Religion

This Week in Miracles: Babies, Cats, Ice Skaters

Thousands of years ago, an event had to be pretty damned impressive to qualify as a “miracle,” like the dead coming back to life, a sea parting, or liquids changing from non-alcoholic to alcoholic.

I’ve long felt that today’s miracles aren’t nearly as good, but to be sure I set up a Google alert on the word “miracle.” Here’s this week’s documentation of Things That Are Miracles.

Slovenia’s ice hockey team not losing every game in the Olympics (they still didn’t get a medal)

This 3-legged horse being born

This genuinely impressive rescue of some stranded sailors

This church floor collapsing without hurting anyone

This town in Florida where sex offenders live

This couple having a baby

This baby who stopped breathing but was helped by bystanders

This cat who was found after three weeks

Thicker, fuller, shinier hair

That concludes This Week in Miracles. Praise the lord.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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10 Comments

  1. I just had this argument with a relative: does my son’s successful life-saving heart surgery (http://groundedparents.com/2014/02/20/luck-life-and-gratitude/) by trained doctors using medical technology count as a miracle? I pointed out that one definition of a miracle is “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency”, and the only part of a successful operation by expert surgeons that fits that definition is “welcome”.

    In response, she pointed out that the operation didn’t go 100% smoothly, and that a doctor noticed a problem by looking at a monitor made by scientists and engineers. And that she was praying while the doctor noticed and fixed the problem.

    So, totally, she got me.

  2. I enjoyed the cat story, and I praise the persistence of those who helped.
    I also enjoyed the tale of the rescued sailors, and I praise the courage of the rescuers.

    But does anybody else find the idea of a bunch of sex offenders living together in a community deeply disturbing and wrong on so many levels?

    1. Well, people find it disturbing to live near just one sex offender, so they keep increasing the distance offenders have to live from parks, nurseries, and schools to push them away. When that doesn’t work, they install micro-parks to push offenders away. Since this feeling isn’t particularly unusual, if the offenders are pushed to somewhere else where people live, those people will likely feel the same way and try to push them out as well. So eventually you get people who can’t legally live anywhere, which is simply a recipe for pushing them toward committing more crimes in the future. Compared to that, a community of them living with each other (where, the article notes, no one has relapses to date) is much better in my mind.

      1. We’re having a similar problem with housing sex offenders here in southern California, right now in Jacumba. The restrictions on living away from parks and schools means they get placed in very small towns that don’t have any, and after a while the townsfolk start to wonder why they have to take all the sex offenders in the state.

      2. Infophile: sure I can understand how and why that situation has arisen, but it still seems undesirable to me. I might have thought naively that on the contrary, these people might be forbidden to associate with other sex offenders. I’m not saying that I have the answer though.

  3. “Sex Offenders” are Boogeymen. Politicians, etc. use the scariest stories to whip-up fear and indignation and a lust to do some head-crackin’ and they thereby get elected/funded as the best crackers.
    A friend of my daughter decided to try “streaking” at his HS graduation. Now he is a felon who has to register for. the. rest. of. his. life. as a “Sex Offender.” Job? Home? “Not In My Back-yard!

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