Consecrated Communion Wafers are Jesus-Free

Leave it to the Raelians to do an experiment no one else has yet thought to do: Testing consecrated communion wafers for the presence of Jesus, or any other human being for that matter. They even put up a report that looks a lot like a scientific paper.

In this study we tested the Catholic dogma of transubstantiation by DNA analysis. Results showed unequivocally that the rituals performed by the priests during the Eucharist sacrament have no detectable effect on the substance of altar bread at the DNA level…

Consecrated hosts were collected during communion in 5 different Catholic churches in the United States and Canada and immediately placed into clean plastic bags to avoid contamination. A sample of cultured HEK-293 cells was used as the human control. Unconsecrated altar bread purchased from a church supply store was used as the wheat control…

Primer pairs that would allow to amplify specifically human and wheat DNA respectively under the same PCR conditions (same annealing temperature and product size range) were searched for in the available literature. Primers F7901 and R8311 [1], which target region 7901 to 8311 of the human mitochondrial genome, and Dgas44-F and Dgas44-R [2], which target the D genome-specific repetitive DNA sequence Dgas44 in wheat, were selected as human-specific and wheat-specific amplification primers respectively (Table 1).

An electrophoresis gel showing DNA amplification products is shown in Fig. 1. Negative controls (water as template, lanes NC) show no amplification product, indicating that PCR reagents were free from human or wheat DNA contamination. Human controls (lanes HC) show the expected 411 bp amplification product with human primers and no amplification with wheat primers, confirming that human DNA can be detected using the selected human primers. Wheat controls (lanes WC) show amplification products with both pairs of primers, with a more intense band with wheat primers. The human DNA detected in the wheat control was likely introduced during handling of the bread sample. The 5 consecrated bread samples (lanes 1 to 5) analyzed using wheat primers show the 286 bp band that would be expected for regular bread material but that should be absent if wheat DNA had somehow been changed into human DNA through the consecration performed by priests. Only one sample (number 5) shows a 411 bp PCR product when amplified using human primers, with a much lower band intensity than the 286 bp product obtained with wheat primers. All other consecrated bread samples show no amplification using human primers. Sample 5 is likely a case of human contamination during handling, as inferred by comparison with the wheat control. Taken together, these results are consistent with the consecrated sacramental bread samples being regular bread samples, and inconsistent with the claim of transubstantiation or the idea that the consecration during the Eucharist sacrament would change the wheat DNA into human DNA…

This study falsifies the claim that a religious ritual performed by a priest can actually change the substance of a bread wafer into the substance of a human body.

You know, they could have used the real blood of Jesus for the DNA testing. Ron Wyatt claimed to have found that blood on the top of the Ark of the Covenant, which he found in a cave below Jerusalem (but couldn’t actually produce, for various predictable reasons). He said he found the dried blood of Jesus on the Ark, had it reconstituted and tested and it only had 24 chromosomes (23 from Mary and one big one from God), thus proving that it was Jesus’ blood.

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  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Don’t they know anything about Substance Theory? It’s all deep philosophy and stuff and by the time the apologists is done explaining both it and something something something you’ve forgotten what you’ve been talking about. It’s that deep.

  • tbp1

    I’ve never completely figured out if Ron Wyatt was for real. His claims were so utterly over-the-top you would think that he was just kidding (or grifting). On the other hand, he might have been the Florence Foster Jenkins of biblical archaeology, convinced of his own merit in spite of all evidence.

  • matty1

    As I understand it, the Catholic Church long ago moved transubstantiation into the untestable category. Basically they argue that it is not just Jesus meat but a special kind of Jesus meat that cannot be distinguished from normal crackers *in any way* .

    Stupid yes but technically not susceptible to disproof.

  • John Pieret

    matty1 @ 3:

    The “technical” Catholic terms are that the bread and wine (don’t forget the wine!) are transformed into the “substance” of Christ’s body and blood but retain the “accidents” or “species” of bread and wine. Wheat DNA is obviously one of the accidents of bread.

    Consecrated hosts were collected during communion in 5 different Catholic churches

    … presumably without telling the priests of their intent and knowing they would not be given them if they did. Technically, that’s stealing.

  • bbgunn

    John Pieret at #4:

    … presumably without telling the priests of their intent and knowing they would not be given them if they did. Technically, that’s stealing.

    Technically a kidnapping, or if you prefer: a Raelian abduction.

  • John Pieret

    bbgunn:

    Technically a kidnapping …

    The law only deals with the accidents, not the substance. 😉

  • Loqi

    I’ve always wondered if, with the whole “substance” and “accident” hand-wave, the cracker matters at all, and if so, why? If the physical properties are completely irrelevant to its Jesusy goodness, why can’t it be a consecrated Toblerone? If a priest said the magic words over a cinder block or a Kowasaki, would those literally become Jesus also? If not, why? What’s special about the cracker?

  • whheydt

    The experiment I’ve always wanted to see done is:

    1. Ask if the priest can tell a consecrated wafer from an unconsecrated one.

    2a. If yes, then present him with on of each and ask him which is which (this should be a double-blind with the person asking not knowing either).

    2b. If the answer in part 1 is no, then ask what demonstrable difference it makes if unconsecrated wafers are used (or, for that matter, if consecrated ones are used in somebody elses ritual).

  • bbgunn

    Mssr. Pieret at #6:

    Technically a kidnapping …

    The law only deals with the accidents, not the substance. 😉

    I have nothing substantial with which I can respond to that statement.

  • Kevin Kehres

    Yeah. Moronic.

    The Catlick definition of “substance” is not their definition of “substance” in this setting.

    And they also have the “miracle at Lanciano” to fall back on. I fell down that particular rabbit hole a while back.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    Christian sacramental dogma is based on late Roman philosophy, which held that all things had two natures, forma and substantia, form and substance. Form was the material, objectively measurable characteristics, while substance was the immaterial, immeasurable characteristics. The action of sacraments is on substance rather than form, which is why the eucharist is described as transubstantiation rather than transformation.

    Yes, it is an outdated notion of reality that has not been able to stand against modern science. It was, however, the notion of reality that dominated Europe for more than a thousand years. Tests like this may satisfy rationalists, but they are not at all proving anything about the claims actually being made.

  • http://florilegia.wordpress.com Ibis3, These verbal jackboots were made for walking

    @7 The magic only works with bread and wine because that’s the ingredient list Jesus specified when he created the spell. You also need an ordained priest to do the incantation–if you said the magic words over the right ingredients it still wouldn’t work because you don’t have the magic power that gets passed along via the ordination ritual.

  • laurentweppe

    You know, by experience, if a Raelian tells me X, I immediately suspect that the opposite is true, if a Raelian tells me that X “has been scientifically proved”, I immediately conclude that the opposite is true, because, fuck, they tried to sell the idea that aliens had taught them how to make cloned human beings with underfunded high-schools’ chemistry equipment and osciloscopes: at this level of wrongness, I’m willing to believe that transubstantiation is true by virtue of having raelians claiming they can debunk it.

  • gshelley

    They might not be actually testing the claims of the Catholic church, but I don’t see how they church can explain this without looking ridiculous

  • hunter

    Some people have way too much time on their hands.

  • arachne729

    New label for communion wafers: “I can’t believe it’s not cannibalism”

  • cptdoom

    I’ve always wondered if, with the whole “substance” and “accident” hand-wave, the cracker matters at all, and if so, why? If the physical properties are completely irrelevant to its Jesusy goodness, why can’t it be a consecrated Toblerone? If a priest said the magic words over a cinder block or a Kowasaki, would those literally become Jesus also? If not, why? What’s special about the cracker?

    From what I remember of my Catholic upbringing, Ibis3 is correct that only “bread” and “wine” can be used, but even within those definitions there is flexibility. Unleavened bread is supposed to be used for communion, because it is really a variation on a Passover Seder, but you can get permission to use other forms.

    When I was a kid, our pastor got permission from the Bishop to use leavened bread one Thanksgiving. The pastor thought it would be a good lesson for all the kids to understand the challenges faced by the Pilgrims by making a loaf of bread from scratch – which even with modern technology takes a lot of time and effort. He then blessed all the loaves donated by the parish families as consecrated hosts. Unfortunately, once the transubstantiation has taken place, the bread, whatever its form, must be used in a Mass and cannot be disposed of any other way (thankfully, it can be frozen). We were still using that damn bread until the next Easter.

    if a Raelian tells me that X “has been scientifically proved”, I immediately conclude that the opposite is true, because, fuck, they tried to sell the idea that aliens had taught them how to make cloned human beings with underfunded high-schools’ chemistry equipment and osciloscopes

    Tell that to Rachel, Sarah, Cosima, Alison and Helena (google Orphan Black if that doesn’t make sense to you).

  • Larry

    As always, discussions about religion and magic crackers brings back fond memories of Tom Lehrer’s Vatican Rag:

    Get in line in that processional,

    Step into that small confessional,

    There, the guy who’s got religion’ll

    Tell you if your sin’s original.

    If it is, try playin’ it safer,

    Drink the wine and chew the wafer,

    Two, four, six, eight,

    Time to transubstantiate!

  • Hatchetfish

    He said he found the dried blood of Jesus on the Ark, had it reconstituted and tested and it only had 24 chromosomes (23 from Mary and one big one from God), thus proving that it was Jesus’ blood.

    Or, you know, a slime mold or nematode

  • Sastra

    Gregory in Seattle #11 wrote:

    Tests like this may satisfy rationalists, but they are not at all proving anything about the claims actually being made.

    The “claims” I think are actually pretty fluid — in witness call in all the wide-eyed accounts of Eucharist miracles where consecrated hosts bleed. If the tests had discovered human DNA in the hosts — DNA which could not be explained as an accident — and this experiment had been substantially replicated by people who weren’t Raelian — do you think any one of the “substance and accident” theologians would have rejected it? A scientific “proof of God?” A miracle granted so that we might believe?

    Not a chance. In my opinion, they’d all drop the medieval metaphysics and crow like a winning football fan.

    The test showed that test could be made. Catholics tempered their reaction to the result.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    How did the Raelians dispose of the remaining remains of their kidnapped messiah?

    Did they engage Prof. Myers as a consultant with relevant experience?

  • John Pieret

    gshelley @ 14:

    I don’t see how they church can explain this without looking ridiculous

    They’ve had some 2,000 years of experience at it.

    Put on some funny but richly decorated clothes, burn some incense in a big church with pretty stained glass windows, sing some solemn chants and intone some words nobody in the audience understands and it all seems so … mystical.

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    @Kevin doesn’t the miracle at Lanciano make things worse? If that is the standard, I want to see that level of production every time.

    Heart muscle and blood? Add in the bits of cracker and we can make black pudding.

    @5,

    I think there is a get out that basically says that if a host is stolen or otherwise misappropriated then it is miraculously turned back into ordinary bread.

  • congenital cynic

    Ok, that’s funny. I’d like to hear the explanation for these results coming from that douchebag who posted so much on the crackergate thread. You remember, the guy who was a “Chair in Transubstantiation Studies” at some catholic university. What a fucking waste of a working life that job is.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    He said he found the dried blood of Jesus on the Ark, had it reconstituted and tested

    Jesus was a master vampire. And now they’ve reconstituted his blood. GREAT.

  • dingojack

    John Pieret (waaaay back at #4) – “…technically that’s stealing….”

    Uh no, it’s nothing of the kind (technically or otherwise). The crackers are given away, once in the possession of the congregant, they ‘own’ it and can do whatever they like with it. Besides if it were stealing there would be an ‘expectation of return’. You don’t see too many Catholics bring their steaming piles of holy shit back to the priest. 😉

    Phillip Hallam-Baker (#23) – “I think there is a get out that basically says that if a host is stolen or otherwise misappropriated then it is miraculously turned back into ordinary bread.”

    Surely, if they wanted to eat the bread as toast (see cptdoom #17), they could exorcise Jesus from it (or otherwise *poof* it back into being non-magic bread), right? Or haven’t they got enough XP to level up so they can use that spell?

    congenital cynic (#24) – ““Chair in Transubstantiation Studies””

    It’s how Catholics spell ‘sinecure’. @@

    Dingo

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Phillip Hallam-Baker @ # 23: I think there is a get out that basically says that if a host is stolen or otherwise misappropriated then it is miraculously turned back into ordinary bread.

    Then why did the officiating priest, his bishop, and the Catholic Defense League accuse the Central Florida University student who took a Christ Crunchy from an on-campus service of “kidnapping”, “terrorism”, and unfitness for higher ed (respectively) in the incident that precipitated “crackergate”?

  • John Pieret

    dingo:

    The crackers are given away, once in the possession of the congregant, they ‘own’ it and can do whatever they like with it.

    No, they are not free to use it as they like. They are given out as part of a religious rite and are given only for a specific purpose, of being consumed during that rite by the people who receive them. Just as when money is given to a charity, it is understood that the money will be used for charitable purposes and if it is diverted to pay off the gambling debts of the person who received the money, that’s stealing from the doner. When you give something to someone there can be strings attached to how that person uses it and it was clearly understood by any reasonable person who knew enough about Catholicism to bother doing this test in the first place that whoever got the consecrated hosts was not supposed to carry them away for DNA testing or other “desecration”. That’s stealing.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty — Survivor

    No Jesus in the Jeez-Its?

    Ya think?

  • dingojack

    Nice try. The only problem is money is transferable (ie you can use it buy other stuff) unless you’re familiar with the local neighbourhood cracker-dealer, it isn’t gonna be worth much is it? (I can’t see a bookie taking crackers to repay a debt, can you?)

    Secondly soliciting funds for a charity, then using those funds to pay off a non-business debt (reasonable business expenses would be acceptable under the terms) would be either a) Misappropriation of funds or b) Obtaining reward or monetary gain by deception, depending on whether the fraud was provably pre-mediated or not. The donor/recipient relationship is usually covered by a legally binding contract stipulating what the funds can (and can’t, in some cases) be used for.

    Apples and oranges.

    Dingo

  • John Pieret

    dingo:

    The only problem is money is transferable (ie you can use it buy other stuff)

    Ah, I see … you can only steal “transferable” stuff? So, if you have an old fuzzy picture of your grandmother, with no monetary, but great sentimental, value, it isn’t stealing for someone to break into your house and take it?

    And, of course, if someone gained the fuzzy picture by deception, oh, by saying I’d really like to honor your grandmother by reproducing the picture, but then photo-shopped it into, say, a child sex abuse video to be sold on the web, that wouldn’t be stealing?

    The Raelians (apparently) obtained the hosts by deception by pretending to be Catholic congregants participating in a ritual the rules of which they were well aware of, since they knew enough about it to conduct this “experiment” in the first place, for the purposes of self-promotion, which is why they published this study.

    It was nothing but stealing and no rational person could think otherwise.

    That’s not to say they should be arrested and jailed … those are separate social issues … but it doesn’t change the [cough] substance of the act they committed.

  • John Pieret

    P.S.: As to legally binding contracts, they neither need to be written or explicit. Think not? The next time you go to a restaurant with valet parking, better not give your keys to the attendant or else you’ve just given him/her permission to joy ride in your car and too bad if they wreck it. Fortunately, while the law may be an ass, it ain’t that much of an ass.

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    27, Because (take your pick)

    1) He is a horse’s ass and doesn’t understand the theology.

    2) The wafers are quantum locked and cease to be the blood and body of Christ whenever they are tested then change back when the testing ceases.

  • Kevin Kehres

    @23 Phillip Hallam-Baker

    Not according to the Orthodox priest I was having a “discussion” with. The fact that a priest dropped a piece of consecrated host and picked up a bit of heart tissue is considered by them to be proof positive that every cracker ever eaten is really-and-truly transformed once blessed.

    And then you get into the whole “examination” of this bit of flesh in the 1960s by an Italian (aka, Catholic) medical examiner, who declared it to be human cardiomyocytes. No DNA testing, of course…I’d LOVE to see that. But, alas, the church won’t allow it. Visual inspection only. Wouldn’t want bits of Jesus to be thrown into a test tube, now would we?