Catholic Presents "Evidence" for Eucharist Transformation, Fails

Dyan Puma thinks her faith is reasonable. So reasonable, in fact, that it should convince atheists that there is a God and Catholicism is the One True Religion.

Unlike most people of “faith,” she says she has actual evidence for a miracle. That’s quite a claim — let’s see what she’s got.

An Unreasonable Story

She starts off telling the story of The Miracle of Lanciano, where a doubting Basilian monk in 700 CE turned the bread & wine into real flesh and blood during a mass.

That’s interesting and all… but this story is from an anonymous source in the 17th century — almost 1,000 years after the alleged event was said to happen.

In other words, it’s yet another fantastical story with no evidence.

Things aren’t looking reasonable so far.

A Reportedly Rigorous Investigation by an Allegedly Eminent Scientist

What else does she have?

Various ecclesiastical investigation [sic] (“Recognitions”) were conducted since 1574. Then, with permission from Rome in 1970-’71 and taken up again partly in 1981 there took place a scientific investigation by the “most illustrious scientist” Prof. Odoardo Linoli, eminent Professor in Anatomy and Pathological Histology and in Chemistry and Clinical Microscopy, and assisted by Prof. Ruggero Bertelli of the University of Siena.

Dr. Linoli, an alleged cynic in regards to the Miracle, reportedly sent a telegram to the Franciscan Friars who tend the church where the Miracle had been kept in 1970, reiterating the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was made Flesh.” But, Dr. Linoli quickly became convinced that the mystery before him was of a miraculous nature.

I’ve bolded two words in that second paragraph that stick out like a sore thumb. Allegedly? I thought we were talking about evidence strong enough to convince atheists?

But when it comes to miracles, I’ve found it always boils down to “allegedly.”

By the way, who is this “most illustrious scientist Prof. Odoardo Linoli”? I can’t find anything about him on Google, other than Catholics raving about this study. What exactly has he contributed to science to make him a “most illustrious scientist”? It seems like they’re building up an argument from authority, but this person certainly doesn’t seem eminent in his field — no one has even heard of him.

I also find it suspicious that it was under “various ecclesiastical investigations” from 1574 – 1970. What exactly did they do? How can we be sure no one tampered with the evidence — if there was any to begin with? With how corrupt things were back then, it would surprise me if someone didn’t!

How do we know what the scientists were studying had anything to do with this alleged miracle?

The Shocking Evidence!

The evidence seems to be the conclusion of this study. Here is how Dyan summarizes it:

The analyses on the samples extracted from the miraculous host were conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision and they were documented with a series of microscopic photographs…

  • The Flesh is real flesh and the Blood is real blood.
  • Both the Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species….
  • The preservation of the Flesh and the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.
  • [etc]

So the tests claim there is real flesh and blood in a Catholic museum. I can do tests and show you something is real flesh and blood, too. Does that mean you’d believe me if I said it came from a twinkie and orange juice?

That is, just because they have flesh and blood locked up somewhere doesn’t mean it was magically transformed by a doubting priest in 700 CE from a cracker and wine.

When someone claims something is done with “absolute and unquestionable scientific precision” I wonder if they are operating in the same universe as me. Can anything be done with “absolute and unquestionable scientific precision,” especially a study regarding an alleged miracle? It makes me suspicious.

WHO Cares?

Another claim is that the World Health Organization did a 15-month scientific study confirming this miracle:

In 1973, the World Health Organization (WHO) appointed its own scientific commission to scrutinize Dr. Linoli’s findings. During a 15-month period, over 500 tests were conducted, all of which supported the conclusions listed above. WHO’s scientific research was published in New York and Geneva in 1976, confirming “science’s failure to explain the Miracle.”

Bu can anyone confirm this? I can’t find anything official about it, and I doubt the WHO would say “science’s failure to explain the Miracle” — only a Catholic would write like that (can you really imagine WHO saying the Miracle, like a fawning monk?).

In looking this up, I found numerous articles that are almost identical to Dyan’s article, but with small details changed — it’s like chasing down the source of an email forward. For instance:

In the extract summarizing the scientific investigations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN), published in December of 1976 in New York and Geneva, it was declared that “science, aware of its limitations, is forced to admit the impossibility of giving an explanation.” (source)

That sounds more plausible, but if that quote is correct (which is different from Dyan’s), I wonder what the context was. What is the source of their quote and where can we see it?

“Will Atheists Accept This Science?”

So when Dyan asks, “Will Atheists accept this science?” the answer is yes and no.

Yes, I can preliminarily accept that what was studied was flesh and blood (though of course more studies must be done and this study should be critically examined for bias and rigor — if anyone can find the original study).

But no, the evidence does not lead me to accept something magical happened, and I don’t know why anyone would find it convincing, unless they already believed in the first place.

Is Anyone Convinced?

As much as I would love to believe miracles happen, this isn’t compelling evidence.

As Thomas Paine said, is this more likely to be truth, or a lie? These sort of stories are rampant throughout history, throughout all religions. I see no reason to accept any of them, this one included.

What about you? Does this sway any of you atheists?

What about our Protestant readers? Has this convinced you of transubstantiation?

(Also, if you’re a wikipedia contributor, please consider making The Miracle of Lanciano more neutral.)

Update 5/30: Dyan has completely changed her post, without annotation, removing all her previous claims about the eucharist miracle. It is now an evangelistic tract about why “God hides,” which is the opposite of her point before (that God was revealed through scientifically studying this miracle). She hasn’t admitted to being wrong or her claims not standing up to scrutiny. Typical slimy Christian tactics!

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  • Nathaniel

    What about you? Does this sway any of you atheists?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, no. I’m sorry for my outburst, but “evidence” like this simply isn’t. You’re absolutely right about the “scientific” part as well. If someone feels an absolute need to forcefully assert that some test was performed with “absolute and unquestionable scientific precision”, then I will immediately suspect that the direct opposite is more true. The only reason to ever assert something like that in an already supposedly scientific study, is if it’s actually no, in fact, scientific whatsoever. In science, the methods and their results are what constitute “scientificness”, not the claims of alleged scientists.

  • Baconsbud

    The only way I can see this as real proof of a miracle is if I am looking for it to be proof. What I get from this post is she wants it to be evidence so it is. I figure she only allows evidence like this stand as her proof when it supports her religion. I wonder how much evidence she ignores that shows her beliefs are wrong?

  • Francesc

    Can you find that history in any peer-reviewed scientific publication?

  • Jabster

    I’ve analysed (in a particularly stringent and methodical way) a piece of wood I found in my garage and it’s real wood. This wood is rather old, not sure just how old but it was already there when I moved in, so it’s obviously part of original cross on which Jesus was crucified and therefore Jesus was the son of god, died for own sins and god exists – so anyone convinced?

    • John

      Sounds good! Where do I send my tithings?

      • John C

        Make’em out to John C….

  • Francesc

    Some doubts about wikipedia’s article…

    “The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood type, AB, which is also the same blood type found on the Shroud of Turin and all other Eucharistic Miracles”
    There is not blood on the shroud of Turin, and what with the blood type? Can we derive Jesus was AB? It seems more logicall for god to be 0 type.

    [In regard to the blood, the scientist emphasized that "the blood group is the same as that of the man of the holy Shroud of Turin, and it is particular because it has the characteristics of a man who was born and lived in the Middle East regions."
    "The AB blood group of the inhabitants of the area in fact has a percentage that extends from 0.5% to 1%, while in Palestine and the regions of the Middle East it is 14-15%," Linoli said.]

    By the way… the article is here, on pubmed. And it’s in italian.$=activity

    And anyway, proving that a thing is flesh and blood, doesn’t prove that it was created around 700 A.D magically

    • Reginald Selkirk

      [The AB blood group of the inhabitants of the area in fact has a percentage that extends from 0.5% to 1%, while in Palestine and the regions of the Middle East it is 14-15%," Linoli said.]

      Keep in mind that Jesus’ mother was Jewish, but his father wasn’t. What does Linoli report about the observed occurrence of various blood types in Heaven?

  • Verde

    wow…the Catholic church are the biggest charlatans in the history of mankind. These “magic tricks” date back centuries. Wonder how many pieces of the ‘true cross’ still lie in churches all over the world and are prayed over day after day.

    lets run some DNA on the “evidence”. Does God even have DNA?

    • revatheist

      I know for a fact where one piece of the true cross is at: it’s in Jabster’s garage, he just said so.

    • Jabster

      I can do a good deal on a piece ….

    • trj

      Combining all the pieces allegedly originating from the true cross, one has to wonder how many tons the thing must have weighed. Irrefutable proof that Jesus was superhuman!

  • cypressgreen

    from Wikipedia: “having been taught that unleavened bread was invalid matter for the Holy Sacrifice he was disturbed to be constrained to use unleavened bread and had trouble believing that the miracle of transubstantiation would take place with unleavened bread.”

    WTF? Isn’t god able to turn anything into anything else?

    • claidheamh mor

      WTF? Isn’t god able to turn anything into anything else?


      Yeah, what’s the big deal? Thousands of people should have seen their mold turn back into bread by now, or someone besides Kafka seeing people turned into cockroaches.

  • Confused

    A moment of pedantry – analyses is actually the correct plural of analysis. She’s talking about multiple analyses, so I think it’s right.

    What she’s saying is laughable, but afaict the grammar and spelling was correct in that sentence at least.

    • Daniel Florien

      I wasn’t saying it was necessarily wrong, I was just making sure people knew that is what the original said, and was not an “error” on my part.

  • Mike Hitchcock

    What I find absolutely mindblowing is that evidence that would not convince a 9-year-old (well not mine, anyway) is touted as having rigorous scientific authority, yet the HUGE amount of real evidence for evolution is dismissed as ‘just a theory’. These people are so wrapped up in their bubble of delusion that they just cannot see reality.

  • Jeremy

    It’s one thing to believe in a miracle that happened thousands of years ago and convince yourself it has a lot of historical evidence to back it up–ie the resurrection. I mean I know it’s silly when you really think about it, but still, it’s maybe an understandable kind of silly.

    But I’ve always thought it takes a special kind of stupid to insist there’s a miracle going on right in front of you for no other reason than because you’re told there’s a miracle, when it’s plain to see nothing has changed. The bread still looks, feels, and tastes like bread, but you’ve convinced yourself that it’s flesh, so it’s a miracle. How do otherwise normal, functioning people survive with that kind of thought process?

  • Personal Failure

    because it has the characteristics of a man who was born and lived in the Middle East regions.

    that could be saddam hussein, for all we know.

    • Yoav

      In his last days with his beard grown he did look a lot like the image of Jesus in the marmite lid from a few posts back.

      • LRA

        And how do you know that?

        • LRA

          Sorry..did you mean Hussein?

          • Yoav

            Sure did.

            • LRA


  • revatheist

    You know, it would be super easy to prove transubstantiation. Take some believers and starve them for a couple of days to make sure their stomachs are empty (and just for fun), then have a priest administer the eucharist. Immediately afterward, give them all ipecac to make them barf their guts out and see what the blood/flesh vs. cracker/wine ratio is. Obviously, the blood/flesh couldn’t be their own (maybe one of the idiots has a bleeding ulcer due to Catholic guilt), and starving them beforehand would rule out the blood/flesh from those who cannibalize someone other than Jesus. I predict that the blood/flesh content of their puke will be zero, but I’m sure this could be explained through the newly discovered process of detransubstantiation, thus making the esophagus the holiest and most magical part of the body.

    If I remember right the first direct studies on digestion were done on some poor war vet (way back in the day) who suffered an injury and it healed back so that there was a hole in his abdomen linked to his stomach. Researchers would drop food in the hole and just watch what happened. So catch a Catholic and replicate this condition surgically on them. Once healed, a priest could drop the wine and cracker directly into the hole and the effects could be observed. Of course, if transubstantiation failed to occur, this could be explained by the bypassing of the magical esophagus, but this does beg the question: is the magic in the cracker/wine, the esophagus, or the combination of the two? That’s a REAL subject for scientific inquiry: the magical interactions of wine and crackers with the gullet.

    • brgulker

      You’ve completely missed the ancient philosophical grounds for transubstantiation: substance and accidents.

      Not that I believe in transubstantiation; I don’t.

      • Daniel Florien

        Except that the whole point of this claim is it isn’t substance and accidents — it was real, and can be tested. But I agree with your historical point.

    • Japanther

      “thus making the esophagus the holiest and most magical part of the body”

      I’ve been using this line on my wife for years…

      • Adamus

        You, my friend, win teh internets. That cracked me up. :D

  • Dan Gilbert

    My first thought was that, even if all the “scientific studies” proved that the bit in question was made of human flesh and blood, there was no witnessing of any transformation. The description of what took place sounds like a really, really bad amateur magician’s trick. The priest was facing away from the congregation while he “consecrated” the host and then, after a bit, he turned around and said, “Ta-dah!”

    That would be like my showing a walnut, then turning around (saying “don’t look!”) and then turning back around and showing you an orange… as proof that I made a walnut turn into an orange. It doesn’t really matter if the orange is real or not. The point is… who gives a rip. ;-)

    • Joe B

      That would be like my showing a walnut, then turning around (saying “don’t look!”) and then turning back around and showing you an orange

      Like this?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Many of these criticism, and more, were raised in the comments to Puma’s article, but she has been deleting them with regularity. I see only a few of my comments still remain there.

    Puma has not seen the original “scientific” manuscripts. When I asked about them, she referred me to the Catholic Media Group, which is responsible for putting out some of the web sites and press releases about this pious fraud.

    The blog The Extended Penotype has two articles on the Lanciano Eucharist miracle, and apparently has read the Linoli paper:
    Eucharist Miracles: Miracle of Lanciano, The Story So Far Aug 5, 2008
    Eucharist Miracles: Miracle of Lanciano “Update”
    The conclusion: nothing miraculous is described in the Linoli paper. The tests of whether the tissue is human heart and the clots are human blood are of varying quality, and descriptions in the paper directly contradict any descriptions of “miraculous preservation.”

  • SteveWH

    Actually, you cannot, in principle, have any empirical test of transubstantiation. The idea of transubstantiation is rooted in Aristotle’s metaphysics, according to which an individual, independently existing object (a substance) possesses properties (its attributes). The substance is what the thing fundamentally is – change the substance, you have a new and different thing (a substantial change). Change the attributes, and you don’t necessarily have a thing of a different fundamental kind. Think of a piece of wood, say the piece of the True Cross in Jabster’s carhold. If you paint the wood black, it’s still a piece of wood. The attributes have changed, but the substance hasn’t. If you set it on fire, it becomes ash – it is no longer a piece of wood. Both the substance and the attributes have changed. Those attributes that can be changed without a substantial change are called accidental properties, or accidents.

    The idea behind transubstantiation is that, during the Catholic Mass, God swaps out the substance of the bread and wine, while keeping the accidental properties of the bread and wine (taste, texture, color, etc.) intact. Since all of the perceptual properties remain the same, there is no way that you can distinguish between a consecrated and unconsecrated host by empirical tests alone. The magic is in the substance, not the accidents. Of course, this raises huge problems for how we could possibly know that transubstantiation has occurred, which I take it is the main point being made in this post and the comments.

    The Miracle of Lanciano story is noteworthy because it is an unusual case of transubstantiation – both the substance and the accidents of the bread were transformed.

    Wouldn’t it be funny if this was all a big trick that God played, in that the Miracle of Lanciano was an instance of transaccidentation, where God changed the accidental properties of the bread to those of human flesh, but left the substance of the bread intact?

    • Reginald Selkirk

      God swaps out the substance of the bread and wine, while keeping the accidental properties of the bread and wine (taste, texture, color, etc.) intact.

      I’d like to point out that this sort of pre-scientific puffery is not consistent with modern science, particularly chemistry. We know what the “essence” of most things is, for example the essence of water is dihydrogen oxide. And we know a good deal about how the “accidental properties” relate to the chemical composition.

      • JE Your use of scare-quotes around ‘essence’ and ‘accidental properties’ shows simply that you don’t accept the you can scarcely predicate the terms, as used, of things discovered by ‘modern science’.

        As to ‘essence’ and water (or any other chemical or physical structure, for that matter), you’ll need to read a little more philosophy of science, or modal logic for that matter, before you can intelligibly assert that ‘the essence of water is ‘dihydrogen oxide’. (By the way, don’t you mean ‘dihydrogen *mon*oxide’, and aren’t you aware that this particular phrase originated as a nearly anti-scientific parody of scientific language?) Try Kripke for logic, then maybe you’ll eventually be able to grasp something of what is now called ‘philosophy of science’.

        • DarkMatter

          Philosophy of dihydrogen oxide:-
          1.Spirit and Water
          2. Water Spirit
          3. Spirit with Water.
          4. Oh, I forgot to add the philosophy of the word “by”.

        • LRA

          Well, JE, if you’re into Kripke’s brand of analyticity, great. Some people aren’t. I think Reginald is using the word essence (with scare quotes) because the observable and scientific fact is that water is H20, whatever the philosophy of language issues might be with this.

        • Reginald Selkirk

          The “mon” oxide would be redundant. Most chemists would simply say H2O.

          If philosophy of science is still stuck in the Dark Ages, then I have no use for it, or for you.

        • dr.R.

          Enlighten us. What is according to your ‘philosophy of science’ the ‘essence’ of water?

          • JE

            I’m not quite sure what ‘the essence of water’ is, but I tend to think of chemical formulae as signs of ‘functional essences’ — ‘things considered insofar as doing a certain thing’. So water is just whatever does the work water does — which, straightforward experimental observation shows, just happens to be H2O.

            I freely concede that the question, ‘Whether in another possible world the thing that does the work of water is not H2O?’, is not interesting to chemists. But physicists and cosmologists *are* interested in these sorts of questions, and the scientifically useful thing about Kripke, Lewis, et al — logicians-cum-modal-metaphysicians — is that they can (perhaps) provide a rigorous formalization of any talk about possible worlds. The problem isn’t just a matter of ‘philosophy of language’, unless nobody had any interesting conversations at Copenhagen. (Also try various writings by Hilary Putnam in the 1970s and Hartry Field in, I think, the early 80s.)

            SteveWH is, in principle, completely correct: the doctrine is metaphysical, not physical. The annoying (and stupid) thing about the journalists critiqued by the original story is that they were trying to turn metaphysics into physics. Whether or not these journalists or their sources are good scientists — and for all I know they might be; these ‘they sound like they don’t know science’ remarks are nice, and probably accurate, but completely unrigorous and irrelevant — has nothing to do with this basic logical confusion. If you simply tell the mystics that they are ‘being unscientific’, then they can simply reply, ‘Why do I care about being scientific?’ This is roughly where many creationist/ID-versus-scientist debates effectively end; and, in the ignorant public eye, the scientist looks bad just because he really doesn’t have an answer. (Obviously ‘technology exists’ is a silly rejoinder.)

            And again, RS, ‘mon’ isn’t redundant — though of course a subscript ’1′ *would* be redundant. If you can’t see the difference between ‘dihydrogen (mon)oxide’ and ‘H2O’ — and I suspect you can’t, as you used the terms interchangeably in your last post — then you are a pure nominalist, which all scientists quite rightly *are*, but only in direct proportion to their respective disciplines’ methodological distance from a TOE.

            • dr.R.

              OK, if you concede this is all metaphysical language-play, then we’re done quickly. But don’t call that ‘philosophy of science’ because that is something completely different. Decades ago Karl Popper already pointed out that metaphysical statements are not falsifiable and therefore meaningless. Of course the question immediately arises: if we cannot empirically test something, how can we know about it? That is the problem with transubstantiation: if people like Reginald Selkirk point out that at molecular level the bread and the wine do not change into flesh and blood, the church comes up with something SteveWH described: it is the ‘substance’ or ‘essence’, that changes, not the ‘attributes’. But how can we know if the ‘substance’ of something changes if we can only know its ‘attributes’? We can’t of course. That’s why the whole concept is metaphysical, it requires belief, not knowledge, and immediately leads to the next question: why should we believe it? Likewise, how can we know what the ‘essence’ of water is if we can only observe its ‘accidental properties’ (as you called it)? Sorry, but I think science and philosophy have advanced a little bit since Aristotle.

              This is roughly where many creationist/ID-versus-scientist debates effectively end;

              I think the problem with creationists is that they make physical (or scientific) claims, not metaphysical.

            • JE

              The falsifiability criterion is epistemological, and not scientific: whether anyone should believe Popper is a question to be answered by philosophers of science, not scientists. And at this point plenty of philosophers of science have rather less use for Popperianism (there’s even a whole school of Australian philosophers that believes Popper was subtly joking all along).

              But why does a scientist need Popper *for his research*? Any serious scientific researcher frankly doesn’t care about the ‘significance’ of his findings, except insofar as it helps him benefit mankind, secure additional research grants, etc. (none of which is science proper). Again, philosophy of science has moved far beyond Popper; and there’s no doubt that, in certain areas, ‘falsifiability’ is a useless criterion. For example, is any TOE falsifiable? Probably not (Max Tegmark disagrees, but I think he’s wrong). Does that make any TOE ‘unscientific’? By Popperianism, sure, but does that mean no TOE can adequately describe reality?

              Moreover, are questions like ‘what is the physical reality accounting for the technical possibility of the addition of vectors?’ simply ‘metaphysical language-play’? Surely not, for *what it is about reality* that makes vectors addable is quite an important physical question (that particular debate rages around whether statical or dynamical methods address more fundamental aspects of the universe) — but it is not Popperianly falsifiable (see e.g. Marc Lange for this).

              This notion that anything ‘metaphysical’ is ipso facto merely ‘to be believed’, rather than to be affirmed rationally, is a matter of confusing mysticism and metaphysics. But if metaphysics is at least partly (modal) logic, as I have been suggesting, then the logic of possibilities is mysticism too, which (a) is an arrogant dismissal of perfectly communicative everyday language, (b) throws out a large chunk of Schroedingerian/Feynmanian physics, and (c) eventually makes the scientific method itself unpracticable, because the method *depends* on the intelligibility of — i.e., our ability formally to talk about — possible worlds.

              And yes, the *error* the creationist/IDers make, the original locus of their stupidity, lies in making idiotic, unsupported, demonstrably false physical claims. But the public debates I’ve seen, at any rate, often end elsewhere, with the scientist *looking* bad (to someone who hasn’t been convinced of the rectitude of ‘science’) because he can’t give a basic justification of physical science in reply to his opponent’s a ‘metaphysical’ critique.

            • LRA

              JE- when you say TOE, do you mean theory of everything (physics) or theory of evolution?

            • SteveWH

              As someone currently working on a PhD. in metaphysics, I must soundly protest your claim that metaphysics does not lead to knowledge, but only belief. Metaphysics, as a philosophical discipline (and as I understand it), deals with what exists what does/could exist – what kinds of things are there, what are they like, and how are they related to each other. I also see metaphysics as involving both a priori and a posteriori aspects. (My approach is influenced by the work of E.J. Lowe, Amie Thomasson, and especially Jorge J.E. Gracia, for those who are interested.)

              There is plenty of knowledge possible here, yes, even at the a priori (dare I say, “speculative arm-chair”) end of things. To give a(n overly) simple example – if my conceptual analysis leads to the logical conclusion that a triangle is a three-sided closed planar figure, then, when I go out to investigate the world empirically, I know that it is not possible for any closed planar figure with four or more sides to be a triangle. Metaphysical work on the “nature” or “essence” of triangles has led me to knowledge of what could or could not be a triangle: that’s justified true belief all of the way, baby! Of course, I agree that transubstantiation is not empirically testable, and that knowledge of it is pretty much impossible.

              I suspect you are either conflating philosophical metaphysics with what popular bookstore chains call “metaphysical studies” (Sylvia Browne and similar garbage that gives metaphysics a bad name), or invoking discredited logical positivist views about the emptiness of metaphysics (correct me if I’m wrong here). Your comment about Popper makes me favor the later. Regarding Popper and falsifiability, there are few problems here. True, of all 20thC philosophers of science, Popper tends to be the only major figure who is widely known and taken seriously within the scientific community, and falsification is, in some ways and cases, superior to verification, but that doesn’t make Sir Karl the final word on the matter.

              First, there are the standard and well-documented problems with Popper’s theory – Quine’s web of belief, the wackiness of “corroborating”, its inability to increase our confidence in the truth of any one particular view, etc. Second, I’m not sure what you mean by “metaphysical statements” – you will have to provide some criteria for what kinds of claims count as “metaphysical”, and this requires you to delineate the category and explain its relationships with other categories, which (according to my understanding of metaphysics) is itself a metaphysical inquiry. Third, Popper’s falsificationism was a response to the demarcation problem – how to distinguish scientific inquiry from pseudo-science. I think you might be confusing that with the logical positivists’ theory of meaning.

            • dr.R.


              whether anyone should believe Popper is a question to be answered by philosophers of science, not scientists.

              But why does a scientist need Popper *for his research*? Any serious scientific researcher frankly doesn’t care about the ’significance’ of his findings, except insofar as it helps him benefit mankind, secure additional research grants, etc.

              I take offence. Since when are scientists only interested in grants, and since when do ‘philosophers of science’ have the exclusive right to talk about what science is about?

              But maybe you are right – maybe much of the current ‘philosophy of science’ bears no significance to science and the practice of science at all.

              …does that mean no TOE can adequately describe reality?

              Show me a TOE that does.

              But if metaphysics is at least partly (modal) logic, as I have been suggesting, then the logic of possibilities is mysticism too, which (a) is an arrogant dismissal of perfectly communicative everyday language, (b) throws out a large chunk of Schroedingerian/Feynmanian physics, and (c) eventually makes the scientific method itself unpracticable, because the method *depends* on the intelligibility of — i.e., our ability formally to talk about — possible worlds.

              There is a lot one could say about Popper, but at least he was able to express his ideas clearly. In the above paragraph there is no logic apparent.

            • dr.R.


              As someone currently working on a PhD. in metaphysics, I must soundly protest your claim that metaphysics does not lead to knowledge, but only belief.

              Well, I was merely following the example of transubstantiation, which is what this thread is about, not triangles.

              I agree that transubstantiation is not empirically testable, and that knowledge of it is pretty much impossible.


              …that doesn’t make Sir Karl the final word on the matter.

              I didn’t say that. It is interesting to see, though, how scarcely mentioning his name immediately invokes the response of at least two people (and counting) who are keen to show how well acquainted they are with the latest philosophical discourse. The thing is, many people have been eager to point out weaknesses in Popper’s ideas, but few have come up with solutions.

            • dr.R.


              noun [C]
              1 any of the five separate parts at the end of the foot:
              I stubbed (= knocked) my toe on the edge of a bed.

            • LRA

              Dr. R–

              Yes, JE likes to use big words, but fails to refute a simple claim about metaphysics– that it all boils down to language (as JE was quick to dismiss my nominalist assertion as if I haven’t done the philosophy of science in addition to the science):


              And also, OOOOHHHH! That’s what TOE is!!!!! ;)

            • LRA

              JE– as a person of science (Columbia MA, thesis Eric Kandel) and a person of philosophy (Univ. of Texas, studied under Michael Tye) I disagree with you. Scientists ARE concerned about what our work means. To dismiss that implies that, perhaps, you are not a person of science and shouldn’t criticize us.

            • LRA

              DANG! posted in the wrong place– this is meant in response to JE two posts down…

            • dr.R.

              Oh, and please explain my poor nominalist brain why ‘dihydrogen (mon)oxide’ and ‘H2O’ would not be the same, and why we shouldn’t leave chemical definitions to chemists.

            • JE

              @dr.R. above (sorry, can’t seem to hit ‘Reply’ immediately below the earlier post):

              Anyone can be a ‘philosopher of science’ insofar as she acts like one. Many great scientists were also philosophers of science (and, by the way, Heisenberg himself credits Aristotle with discovering early forms of the conceptual tools needed to express H’s own work), *but not insofar as they were doing actual scientific research*. Einstein’s speculations about the ‘meaning’ of the ‘=’ in ‘E=mc^2′ are nice, but are philosophy of science, not science. (Einstein is oft cited here because he’s rather notoriously bad a philosopher of his own physics.)

              And — well, how do scientists get money for their (expensive!) research? Ask one. Most funding is public; many academic departments (public health is an egregious example) are funded almost entirely through external grants. The researcher needs to show how her research fits the stated goals of the funding source, which ultimately have little to do with pure knowledge. Politicians, who control the money, aren’t pure scientists; pure scientists would make very poor politicians, precisely because scientists are simply interested in Real Stuff In the World, and (qua-scientists) nothing more. Whether we like it or not, this is how most scientific work gets done.

              But regardless, my point is simply that research itself has no interest in arguing with creationism/ID/whatever. Whichever scientists actually do engage in these debates need skills beyond scientific research itself. Often these skills are lacking; Richard Dawkins himself, perhaps the most brilliant evolutionary biologist of the twentieth century, often sounds like a complete dimwit when he starts talking metaphysics; but however ignorant he is of matters more familiar to, say, SteveWH, and however little this lessens his *scientific* credibility, he still makes science *look* bad to people not particularly interested in actually *doing* science.

              Arrogant, knee-jerk responses like those rather dominating this Comments-board at the moment do nothing but confirm ignorant anti-scientific types in their ignorance. Why should anyone listen to someone that calls them stupid?

            • JE


              Of course, and I mean no disrespect for your work or the reasons you do it; I apologize if I communicated any such dismissal. (I confess I harbor some personal, and admittedly irrational, bitterness regarding the politics/rhetoric of physics grant-making, which partly explains why I am no longer professionally a ‘person of science’.) The point is simply that your concern for the *meaning* of your research is not part of the research itself. What actually motivates individual scientists to do their research varies, as far as (anecdotally) I can tell, so tremendously from researcher to researcher that we should be very glad for the method’s systematic indifference to personal motivation. The point is just that *science* isn’t about the meaning of science, even the researcher herself is going for something deeply personal (e.g., a medical researcher trying to cure a loved one’s cancer). All of which is merely to observe, apropos of the original post’s rhetoric, that being a good scientist doesn’t necessarily make you very good at explaining why anyone should care about scientific research.

            • LRA

              JE– fair enough! :) But I think that the truly proliferative scientists do understand the meaning of their work. Of course, there are some second rate people that are just into the process, but these people settle out (like a suspension settles) eventually. I also understand leaving science. I left for a more conceptual career. I’m interested in the nexus of philosophy, science, and popular culture and am pursuing a PhD as such…

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Some photos are posted at Wikimedia: Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano

    While PUma repeasts without question the claim that

    In 1973, the World Health Organization (WHO) appointed its own scientific commission to scrutinize Dr. Linoli’s findings. During a 15-month period, over 500 tests were conducted, all of which supported the conclusions listed above. WHO’s scientific research was published in New York and Geneva in 1976, confirming science’s failure to explain the Miracle.

    A Catholic miracle doesn’t sound like something the WHO would get involved in. Their mission is to monitor and improve health by distributing vaccines and medicines to poor countries and such.

    The only evidence I have seen that such a WHO report exists is a photo if a single page in Italian at the mentioned Wikimedia site with a “WHO- UNO – Italian Edition” stamp on it. I cannot make out a date of publication or even a list of authors. If a genuine WHO document existed, and a translation was made into Italian, then the original would presumably be in English. Where is it?

    • Daniel Florien

      I am highly suspicious about that claim too.

      • dr.R.

        It doesn’t show up in Google scholar which is usually quite good at finding obscure reports

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Puma repeats, without question:

    The five clots of Blood, though different in shape and size, are equal in weight. Also, one of the clots weighs as much as two, and two as much as three. Whether one clot, two clots or five clots are weighed, they always amount to 15.85 grams.

    A clear violation of the laws of nature, and evidence of a miracle! If it were true. As commenter Johann notes below Puma’s article (way at the bottom, it may have been deleted by the time you read this)

    Incidentally, one of those sites talks in a little more detail about the clots supposedly all weighing the same no matter how many are weighed – it says that this claim was made in 1574 by Archbishop Gaspar Rodriguez, and has not been observed since. It gives the weights of the clots as 8, 2.45, 2.85, 2.05 and 1.15 g.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Further note: Puma presented this in a list purporting to be findings in Linoli’s article. Apparently it is not.

  • brgulker

    A while back I made a comment that I have personally observed two things that have happened that completely defy any explanation of which I am aware, scientific or otherwise.

    I asked whether or not people would take me seriously if I posted them. And while I genuinely believe that most posters here would take it seriously, I decided against posting them.

    For a couple reason.

    First, miracles aren’t evidence for any god, much less the Christian. I realize that. Miracles defy explanation; they don’t prove that the Christian God exists.

    Second, claiming that miracles defy explanation opens up the God-of-the-gaps can of worms, in my mind. Just because it can’t be explained now, doesn’t mean it won’t be ….

    Third, miracles don’t meet the definition of “evidence” as defined here (even in posts just above this one). For example, a miracle isn’t repeatable. It can’t be reviewed in a peer journal. I have known people who have been healed, and they have medical records that demonstrate it wasn’t the result of medicine or treatment (because they weren’t taking any); but, I know that can be countered by the placebo effect, etc.

    Anyway, that’s a long way of me saying a couple things. First, I realize that “miracles” don’t prove god’s existence, much less the existence of the Christian God. But second, I don’t understand miracles to be “evidence,” and neither would anyone else here… so I guess I just don’t see the point of posting that stuff.

    What about our Protestant readers? Has this convinced you of transubstantiation?

    Uhhh, no.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      I have known people who have been healed,…

      How many of them were amputees?

      • brgulker

        Well, one wasn’t an amputee… but was born with a missing appendage.

        • LRA

          That is a total bs claim until you provide proof! :(

        • Aor
          • LRA


            “Someone stop the citing! Please, please stop the citing!”

            Is this directed at ME????


            • LRA

              The trifecta of online citations:

              -The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
              -The Oxford Online Dictionary


              (The Skeptic’s Bible almost makes it into the trifecta!)

        • rodneyAnonymous

          Regrowing a missing appendage is not possible. You might as well claim you’ve seen someone fly or turn invisible. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

          I have seen impossible things. I can’t explain all of them. But I am pretty sure the explanations involve how I was mistaken.

      • DarkMatter

        I have know people who are raptured.

      • claidheamh mor

        I have known people who have been healed,…

        How many of them were amputees?

        Only the lizards!

    • DarkMatter

      “First, I realize that “miracles” don’t prove god’s existence, much less the existence of the Christian God. But second, I don’t understand miracles to be “evidence,” and neither would anyone else here… so I guess I just don’t see the point of posting that stuff.”

      I know one person who might disagree with you, James Randi.

      • Siberia

        James Randi isn’t about miracles (afaik), it’s about supernatural powers, such as mind reading, divining, telekinesis… again, afaik.

    • Question-I-thority

      Whether or not the event was a miracle, it is (if true) still important. The socially responsible thing for those involved would be to bring forth the substantiating evidence for such a claim. Perhaps this has already been done? Could such evidence or perhaps news articles be linked to here?

  • Bissrok

    Why are Christians always trying to find proof? Their God doesn’t want them to have proof, he wants them to have faith. And faith, by definition, requires the absence of proof. They should celebrate the fact so much of their religion has been debunked by science and common sense.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Puma repeats, without question:

    In the Blood there were found the following minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.

    One of my first comments, which was deleted long ago, asked: “What, no iron? was Jesus H. Christ anemic?

    Table of measurements from the Linoli article as reproduced at The Extended Penotype.

    Column 1: Lanciano sample
    Column 2: Avg from 10 samples of normal human blood
    Calcium 114.29 3.97
    Chlorine 2.25 34.51
    Potassium 1.99 8.98
    Magnesium 0.96 1.50
    Potassium 5.76 6.88
    Sodium 46.44 73.43

    The correlation is not stunning. Note that most of the pious sites mention the elements, but not the numbers. I wonder why?

    Post at Pharyngula in which the Puma article is discussed by myself, Brownian, Sastra.
    Brownian managed to dig this up:
    PubMed entry for

    Linoli O.
    [Histological, immunological and biochemiccal studies on the flesh and blood of the eucharistic miracle of Lanciano (8th century)] [Article in Italian]
    Quad Sclavo Diagn. 1971 Sep;7(3):661-74.
    PMID: 4950729

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Note the Linoli article, aside from being published in a real journal, but one so obscure that I only know of one person who has seen a copy of the article, a journal that does not have a web site, was a single author work. Apparently Dr. Illustrious didn’t want to let his many graduate students in on the action.

  • Roger

    She would have done better to prove that the events in Star Trek are, indeed, factual, as we have historical records that show the adventures of a guy named James T. Kirk.

  • theBEattitude

    This obsession with a ritualistic human sacrifice and eating this man’s blood and flesh completely baffles me. Completely irrational and primitive theology.

    • brgulker

      Just had a look at your website. Very interesting stuff and very well designed. And I really like the name… Happy are those who ask questions. Brilliant.

      I do wonder, though, if you’ve ever studied the long, complex history of the eucharist. Yes, it’s primitive, but I don’t understand that to be a negative thing, personally. In ancient Hebrew thought, blood simply symbolized life. I do understand why it’s weird/creepy without that context, though… and I especially understand why it’s very strange if transubstantiation is thought to be true.

      • theBEattitude

        Thanks. My blog has been a great outlet for me since I launched it in February. My wife, all of my friends, and extended family are Christians. That doesn’t leave me many people to openly discuss the subject. I have some great discussions with people coming from all sides.

        I was a Lutheran for 33 years of my life which is about as close to Catholic as you can get in Protestant denominations. But I have not extensively studied the eucharist because I’ve always viewed it as bunk theology. Communion was always a symbolic tradition for me and I believed god was present in it. But I never believed I was actually eating flesh and drinking blood.

        • Olaf

          I am confused, do you tell me that people actually believe that this hosty is real blood and flesh from Jezus? And these people are not locked up in some psychiateric institute?

      • Sunny Day

        “I do wonder, though, if you’ve ever studied the long, complex history of the eucharist.”

        It should also be noted that some of us also have not read about, “exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor’s boots”, or “On the Luminescence of the Emperor’s Feathered Hat. “.

    • Garrett

      And yet this person probably won’t be committed.

      If I go around telling people that I raised a bunch of people from the dead, that a friend of mine survived inside the belly of a big fish for 3 days and that my uncle has 2 of every species of animal on his boat, I’d be locked up inside of an insane asylum.

      But say those sorts of things happened thousands of years ago because The Bible says so, and few people seem concerned that you might be out of your flippin’ mind.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      This obsession with a ritualistic human sacrifice and eating this man’s blood and flesh completely baffles me.

      For even asking about it after another Puma article, I was accused of an “attack on Jesus and Catholics.” Is Puma paranoid much?

      • Reginald Selkirk

        Oops, lost the link, repeat attempt: link

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Web site claiming to present findings of the Linoli article and others:
    The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
    Historical, Theological, Scientific and Photographic Documentation

    No mention of the magical weight variations is mentioned.

  • LRA

    Wow. Anyone who claims absolutes in the same breath as science needs to take a philosophy of science class. That’s just stoopid.

  • Logan

    That is, just because they have flesh and blood locked up somewhere doesn’t mean it was magically transformed by a doubting priest in 700 AD from a cracker and wine.

    Minor nitpick, Daniel: A.D. stands for “Anno Domini,” Latin for “The Year of our Lord.” Those of us who don’t have a Lord prefer to use C.E., or “Current Era.”

    • Daniel Florien

      Changed. I was using a source for that, so used what they used — sometimes I forget about “CE”!

  • Reginald Selkirk

    There’s a link near the top of articles for “Report Article.” The grounds for reporting articles are:
    1) Objectionable or obscene content
    2) Spelling and grammar
    3) Broken HTML
    4) Broken photos or links
    5) Major formatting issues.

    I reported the Puma article. With the limited list of options, I chose #1, stating that the author’s profound dishonesty was obscene.

    • JE

      This childish equation of ‘profound dishonesty’ and ‘obscenity’ would be laughable, were it not so obviously dangerous. How does such a move contribute to scientific investigation, exactly? But worse, it is rhetorical suicide: this is the sort of move that provides easy fodder for that idiotic ‘Expelled’ movie and the like.

      • Reginald Selkirk

        It’s not my fault they don’t have a button for “profound dishonesty.” Puma’s behaviour is giving them a bad name. I would hope they would care about that.

  • Alexis

    Mistranslation from the Italian. Where it says “flesh and blood” it should actually say “Marmite”. I’m a little confused about the microscopic photographs mentioned in the article. Are these photographs that are so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye?

  • fftysmthg

    This is going to be difficult for me to find the right words to express what I think about the contents of this article, but I’ll try. Let me see. Oh yeah…..BULLSHIT!!!!

  • claidheamh mor

    “Clots of blood”…. *herrrrrkkkk!*

    She wants to prove cannibalism!?

    *Gurk* ‘scuse me!

  • Len

    Transubstantiation – is that when the pizza and beer become tacos and margarita?

  • most illustrious

    “15 moths”

  • Mike Caton

    I’m ALL FOR focusing on contentious differences between branches of Christianity (or any politically aggressive religion) and using them to divide opposing camps of theists. The Catholic obsession with saints and magic blood-drinking is a big turn-off for Protestants, so that’s always a popular one to start the Thirty Years War all over again – and split up political coalitions in the process. Yes, this habit is ugly, possibly dishonest, but effective and, you’ll have to admit, fun.

    Does anybody think it’s time for a schism within Scientology? Let’s see if we can start one.

    • DarkMatter

      “The Catholic obsession with saints and magic blood-drinking is a big turn-off for Protestants,…”

      Yet, they do not know that trinity god is as old as catholic, herself.

  • fftysmthg

    Bread was turned into flesh and blood into wine, and yet there hasn’t been a single healing of a amputee. I was thinking, if we shaped a loaf a bread into the shape of an arm and then poured wine all over it, perhaps then we could… never mind.

    • Daniel Florien

      God doesn’t care about amputees, he cares about crackers!

      • Fentwin

        “…he cares about crackers!”

        Are you saying that god has a special place in his heart for my kin down in Georgia? Well, they definitely think as so.

        • DDM

          Sad, but true. Brown people like Jesus can die nailed to a cross for all God cares.

  • Catholic but baffled

    I’m Catholic, but I don’t understand why one would try to present evidence in an attempt to “prove” transubstantiation. It is, by definition, a dogmatic principle that requires faith. Anyone who is intellectually honest would admit that it would probably be difficult, if not impossible, to find naturalistic evidence for such a claim.

    The serious discussion turns on whether faith in the supernatural can be reasonable, or more narrowly, whether faith in this specific belief can be tempered with reason. One could provide abstract, theological proofs (see Aquinas or Augustine) but there is no empirical method of testing those proofs.

    There are certain points of common ground between faith and reason, but certain aspects of this debate are totally, obviously, irreconcilable. This is one of them, and I’d rather see people admit it and get on tipping back their pints.

    • Daniel Florien

      Thanks for your honesty!

    • JE

      Tipping pints is surely better than tipping blunt pseudo-intellectual lances, but are you asserting the possibility of flat contradiction between faith and reason? That is a more complex question than ‘species versus substance’ transubstantiation-doctrine alone will answer. Aquinas himself, the arch-transubstantiationist, was well-received in part because he argued at length, against early Medieval readers of Aristotle, that such contradiction was impossible.

      • LRA

        JE- are you calling scientists “blunt pseudo-intellectual lances”? And you ask, “Are you asserting the possibility of flat contradiction between faith and reason?” I say that faith requires a suspension of skepticism. Is that not in opposition to a reasonable endeavor like science?

        • JE

          No, ‘blunt pseudo-intellectual lances’ are what we all are tipping here on this Comments board. Anything not published in a peer-reviewed journal is likely to be both blunt and pseudo-intellectual, though of course not necessarily. (Perhaps much published in peer-reviewed journals is also blunt and pseudo-intellectual, but I’m not feeling quite so pessimistic today..)

          What do you mean by ‘suspension of skepticism’ and ‘in opposition’? Two ‘opposed’ *attitudes* do not necessarily entail contradiction.

          • LRA

            Faith is belief period. Not investigation. Therefore it is in opposition to reason. Period.

            • JE

              What is ‘in opposition’ — ‘faith’ and ‘reason’, or ‘belief’ and ‘investigation’, or both of these pairs analogously? And, do you take ‘in opposition’ to imply actual *contradiction*, or something a bit weaker, like ‘attitudinal distance’ or something similar? I’m tentatively taking you to be talking about incompatibility of method, but of course this need not entail contradiction.

            • LRA

              Look, I’m interested in knowledge (in the epistemological sense- “true,” justified, and believed with all the baggage that those claims bring– I know).

              Belief is just one of those components. It is not knowledge, therefore. As such, believers are not knowledgeable, they’re just believers. In this way, their attitude (as you call it) is actively working against knowledge. They’ll twist facts to suit what they believe. This is the opposite (or contrary to) processes of inquiry like science.

            • JE

              Got it (though the standard ‘justified true belief’ isn’t actually a very good way to define ‘knowledge’, as SteveWH’s Gracia will argue). And sure — in that case I’m with you all the way.

              But the creationist/ID-types have got one sociological claim right: plenty of scientists *are* merely ‘believers’ in this sense, and *do* ‘twist facts to suit what they believe’. (I’m tempted to say that all non-physicist scientists are by necessity kinda ‘believers’ in fundamental physics anyway..but no, that’s not fair, other specific sciences have their own methods too…)

              Galileo did this to a rather absurd degree, which is partly why nobody listened to him for quite some time. Another part was of course heliocentric stupidity; but another, rather large, part was Galileo’s stubborn insistence that planetary orbits are circular, which doesn’t fit even rudimentary empirical investigation. Part of the explanation of geocentrism’s slow up-take lay in Galileo’s arrogant rhetoric, and part of his arrogance lay in twisting his own observations to a completely bogus circular-orbit theory. None of which has anything to do with the truth of geocentrism whatsoever, but all of which seriously harmed its palatability to everyone else.

            • LRA

              Plenty of scientists are believers? I don’t think so at all! I worked in science for years and I know that the scientists I knew were skeptics who required proof for everything that came out of my mouth!!! We worked carefully and we pared down the papers we wrote to a minimal methodological naturalism to avoid our own philosophical biases– we were soooooo so careful!!! We knew that we couldn’t get published if our claims weren’t backed. I worked in the labs of well known scientists (like Eric Kandel, and Santosh D’Mello) and I can tell you first hand that they scrutinized my every move because I represented them and they have a reputation to protect. If there was ANY way that our biological/theoretical foundations were unsound then, I’m sure these men would ferret it out. But the fact is that we have an established, well supported field!!! We have so much evidence to support our claims (that metaphysicians wish they could have!!!) We aren’t a faithful group. I know because I am part of this group. We will shift paradigms when necessary because doing so could win someone a Nobel prize. We aren’t as you portray us. We are better than that.

            • JE

              But again you’re talking about *within* your research! and again I’m talking about everything else. Of course method itself, which alone is sufficient for the results to be called ‘the results of science’, guarantees that no resulting belief will not be empirically justified; the method’s more or less self-sufficiency in this regard makes the goal of the researcher’s labor something more like ‘getting the method right’ than ‘just understanding reality without bias’. As I think you implicitly observe, a huge part of peer-review in science journals involves looking for any (probably unwitting) bias in the data-collection — in great part because anyone’s first intuition about physical reality is likely to be influenced by an underlying philosophy, and moving from these intuitions to testable hypotheses is often extremely difficult. (I’m sure this is even more true in biology than in physics, perhaps ethology and psychology still more so.) The ‘belief’ any scientist has is just in whatever is not actually the subject-matter of her research.

              The fact that biology has well-established methods that reliably lead to accurate results doesn’t affect this one bit. A perfect structural engineer might produce only perfect buildings, but he is not actually doing research in statics. His results work flawlessly because of things he doesn’t actually do scientific work on — even if he is well-aware of the results of others’ work. This is a *virtue*, that the engineer or biologist doesn’t *need* to have done research in methodologically prior disciplines in order for her own methods to work consistently. Of course reality is consistent; methods relate empirical data among disciplines simply so that human stupidity, which permits inconsistency, will block knowledge minimally.

              My observation was anecdotal, and so needn’t touch any particular researcher. Kandel and D’Mello are both *extraordinary* researchers, really brilliant scientists, and also, I think, rather famously circumspect about methods and careful about claims. Most aren’t that nearly good. But I certainly have observed, in my own limited experience, a rather annoying tendency among scientists in various fields to differentiate so strongly between actually doing research and everything else, that the methodological rigor required by (and consistently practiced in) the lab simply disappears everywhere else, even, and far too often, when discussing research in other fields. (Physicists, in my (still sympathetic!) experience, are sometimes worst of all, as if having a more ‘mathematical’ discipline meant that one could grasp other disciplines without bothering to learn their specific methods…)

          • DarkMatter

            I see your points of argument, but I don’t see what your arguments are all about concerning this article because of @Catholic but baffled’s reply.

  • Jack

    They claim it’s the blood and flesh of Christ, right? And these samples are remarkably preserved after thousands of years? Can we sequence the guy’s DNA then? Maybe figure out how to give everyone some cool powers — I wouldn’t mind walking on water, especially the next time the great flood comes.

    • Fentwin

      Walking on water would be fine, but turning all fresh water into wine, now that would get you a following.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      especially the next time the great flood comes.

      Sky daddy promised He wouldn’t do that again. (Genesis 9:11)

      • John C

        Good to see you quoting Holy Writ there Reg…will be better when you understand the true meaning. Also, no such thing as a “sky daddy”, at least not in Christianity.

        • Question-I-thority

          As has been pointed out to you many times, according to your book Jesus flew up into the sky to return to his father.

          • John C

            Uhh…ever read John 17?? He was already One with His Father and the Father was/in within Him while on earth…and so it is with us…if we will go the distance.

            God doesnt “live” up in the sky. The sky symbolizes the heavenly (spiritual) realm which is “above”, superior to the lower, inferior earthly realm.

            • Question-I-thority

              That your book is inconsistent in not my problem.

            • John C

              Then again, could be your interpretation? Just askin’ Q

            • Reginald Selkirk

              As Question-I-thority points out, some parts of the Bible most definitely refer to a sky daddy. If there are other parts that say something different, this does not entitle you to tout the one and ignore the other.

            • John C

              Depends on the context Reg. If Christ in the flesh came to show mankind, to remind us how to relate to the Father, where we couild find Him, etc then it is quite reasonable to “hear” John 17 since we are also (currently) in the flesh. There are also verses that say “in Him we live and move and have our very being” which denotes an “all in all”, quantum kinda perspective.

              The bottome line, we can’t go anywhere that He is…not. Thankfully.

            • Aor

              If he can’t go anywhere he is not, then he is not omnopotent. Thanks for playing “Who’s the Idiot,” you will be receiving our home game in 4 to 6 weeks.

  • Daniel Florien

    I love seeing the evolution of the wiki article, especially all the “citation needed” and “weasel words” throughout.

  • dr.R.

    …conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision…

    This is a contradictio in terminis

    For the rest, am I the only one who senses some despair in people like Dyan Puma? It seems to me they are so desparate for some proof of their beliefs that even the most obscure and implausible claim gets accepted as evidence. It’s almost as if they realise how absurd their beliefs actually are…

    But it’s said, really, how some people are so desparately clinging to their beliefs they are ready to present the most implausible claims as truth. Essentially, all she is saying is: I want this to be true, it has to be true, I want you to think it is true, too.

    • Olaf

      “But it’s said, really, how some people are so desparately clinging to their beliefs they are ready to present the most implausible claims as truth.”

      Because their believe gets erode more and more and somehow this is a attempt to covince people and themselves that their believe is still valid. Basically they will make up stories not to accept reality that they have been wrong all their life about their religion.

      First of all these evidences are too stupid to convince any Atheists.
      You only convince weakly minded people that never ask questions if this is indeed all true and how to test it if it could not be true. And those lready believing so they avoid questions that might discover that their religion is a hoax.

  • Olaf

    “absolute and unquestionable scientific precision”

    If I hear these words then it this is a big red fracking flag that there is no science involved at all. Just someone trying to hide the fact that there is no science at all, just a trick to convince people into believeing that it is all true and make sure that people do not dare to ask questions.

  • VidLord

    this reminds me of the “miracle” dirt hole in Chimayo, new mexico which inexplicably never runs out of sand and never gets deeper when people take the “special” sand…

    I took a trip there as a child with my extremely catholic parents who raved about the “miracle” all the way there. Then when we get there we fill our cups with the dirt but they are about to close and we watch as the priest POURS A BAG OF SAND into the hole LOL. I was like.. mom – why is he pouring sand in there if it’s never supposed to run out????

    • VidLord

      speaking of the above miracle i just posted…appears people actually eat the miracle dirt:

      “Do you eat it?” I asked.

      “Oh yeah, of course,” Geraldine said.

      “How? Do you mix it with water?”

      “No, no.” She pulled the tupperware tub open, took out a thick pinch of soil, and sprinkled it on her tongue. “That’s all it takes,” she said. “And you have a miracle.”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Daniel: Dyan Puma has completely changed the post to which you linked. The “challenge” about the Lanciano miracle is almost entirely gone, replaced with a piece about “If God exists, why is He hiding?” Perhaps you might do a follow-up to document this tactic.

    This follows a partial retraction in the comments:

    Dyan says:
    The WHO reference has been removed, pending word from the ICMG.
    May 29, 6:16 PM

    If Puma had read the primary documents before posting, this could have been avoided.

    From the new post: (still dated May 26)

    However, miracles and signs are not essential to faith, and Catholics neither need nor hinge their faith on miracles.

    Which makes one wonder why she made the attempt.

    What followed was a challenge for nonbelievers to disprove the scientific investigation of a recorded supernatural event, not as proof of God per se, but evidence to add to the already large body of evidence in favor of the supernatural, as Atheism is concerned only with the natural world.

    As an “intellectually honest” person, I agree this is difficult. But it is no less difficult for a nonbeliever to prove the nonexistence of God when their logic and reason is limited to human subjectivity – the creature trying to understand its Creator – and it is only natural that we should ask the larger question, “Where do we come from?” Therefore, it’s hypocritical to say this challenge is unfair and/or a failure.

    1) The “already large body of evidence in favor of the supernatural” is of similar quality.
    2) I do not consider Dyan Puma to be intellectually honest.
    3) It is difficult to “disprove” the existence of a lot of things. This is not to be mistaken for evidence of their existence.
    4) The challenge was a failure. It was also stupid. It is not hypocritical to say so.

    To quote from the movie Gladiator, screenplay by David Franzoni:

    Quintus: People should know when they’re conquered.
    Maximus: Would you, Quintus? Would I?

    Dyan Puma should acknowledge that she failed, and that she did not meet the standards of scientific inquiry to which she challenged her atheist readers.

    • Daniel Florien

      Thanks for the heads up, I’ve updated the post.

      She talks out of both sides of her mouth — atheists should accept this reliable scientific evidence — er, atheists should believe in God because he hides himself from them!

      They make everything fit in their paradigm, even when it is the opposite of what they previously claimed. Gotta love blind faith!

      (BTW, your emails always come back to me when I reply. Might want to check your email address.)

    • Japanther

      Well played, everyone. Glad to see a somewhat happy ending. Of course, she should acknowledge the failure, but that’s not likely. Editing posts in this a manner is dishonest. What she should have done is: make a new post.

      This isn’t blind faith. This is eyes-open, fully-aware, on-purpose self deception. Not to mention, a deliberate lie to anyone who might read her blog.

  • Kyle

    The “Miracle at Lanciano” sounds like a pita marketing ploy. “This miracle proved to him that unleavened bread was acceptable matter for the Holy Sacrifice.” Ha, the first thing they mention proven by this “miracle” is that pita is acceptable, forget that GOD HAS PROVEN HIS EXISTENCE. Miracle my ass!

    “Oh and by the way, this has also proven that Coca-Cola Classic is an acceptable alternative for communion. Enjoy its refreshing taste while saving your soul.”

  • munari

    I don’t want to jump into this conversation too much, but here is a list of 48 studies done by Linoli. The study on the Lanciano miracle can be found on this site, but I believe it requires an account to access. However, I’m sure a little digging at a well-stocked library could turn it up.

    Many of you have bashed this woman in her statements, which I haven’t read, but how many of you have followed up and contacted the WHO to check on this?

  • munari
  • munari

    Ugh… I think I see the problem, last attempt…

    I’m not sure what’s wrong with the link. Here is the direct link to the article. If you click on Linoli, O, his other articles will pop up: