I’ll wait till the Church Investigates for a Final Verdict

I’ll wait till the Church Investigates for a Final Verdict September 9, 2013

…but this looks pretty cool:

This sort of thing happens all the time.

And, by the way, is there any catchphrase of skepticism more meaningless than, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?”  Dudes: Extraordinary claims require *evidence*.  That’s it.  That’s all.  Demands for “extraordinary evidence” are just delaying action so that skeptics can persist in ignoring, you know, evidence.

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  • Steve

    Yeah, many people (myself included) got their hopes up for the “angel priest”. And while the kindly Irish priest was quite angelic, he taught me a lesson in jumping on every reported miracle.

    Addendum: Although, every Mass features a Eucharistic miracle.

    • said she

      That kindly Irish priest was at the accident site precisely when he was needed, with anointing oil at the ready. Isn’t that a miracle, in and of itself? And everyone reported a feeling of great calm after he prayed. And the injured woman survived, indeed, her vitals improved after the prayer, despite the rescuers righting her car to get her out.

      We mustn’t overlook the “everyday” miracles in our search for God’s hand at work in our daily lives.

      • Steve


    • bob

      Best comment yet. The *mere* eucharist is a pretty amazing thing itself, people sometimes forget.

  • Julie Peitz Nickell

    Apparently there is an exhibition of Eucharistic miracles that goes to parishes. http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/a3.html It is easy to forget what a miracle the Eucharist truly is, and that it is real.

    • I think I saw this exhibition at a parish in Boston, and it was excellent!

  • Thomas Boynton Tucker

    When did this occur?

    • kmk1916

      I think it’s this:


      The photo above is in the lower clip.
      I think the Register has an article on it.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Thanks, kmk – I had not been able to see the page posted by Mark because the writing is much too small for my old eyes (and cannot be enlarged by “zooming in”) and I was wondering what it was about. The story is interesting, let’s hope it is true, not a hoax.

  • Stacy Forsythe

    Hey, don’t dis the skeptics. They do good work. The “extraordinary evidence” line is, I think, not a dodge but an acknowledgment that you’re going to need a lot more backing for a claim that breaks our usual understanding of the universe. Especially since “misperception” and “hoax” are almost always on the table, and would be simpler explanations than “The Creator just reached down from out of frame and tweaked things without going through the usual procedures that even He normally sticks to.” By this I do not mean to deny the reality of miracles, only to applaud those (like the Church herself) who are careful to rule out alternative explanations before endorsing a miracle claim. Heck, your very title reflects a commendable skepticism.

  • The Deuce

    One thing I’m curious about, in Eucharistic miracles that have been investigated and found valid, were any tests done on the blood, and if so does the blood have the chemical composition of blood, or is it transmogrified wine?

    And if chemically blood, it occurs to me that someone should compare it to the blood samples on the Shroud Of Turin (seriously)!

    • Luke

      Deuce – Scientific studies on the miracle of Lanciano confirmed it was type AB human blood, same as the shroud.

      • The Deuce

        Very cool, thanks!

        • Stacy Forsythe

          However, I have read in some places that Lanciano and the Shroud agree in that respect because very old blood always reads as AB. If so, the match is sadly not as impressive as it first appears.

          • Ha! I want to know if this is true, too, and why. A quick google search indicates it might not be quite as universal.

          • Rosemarie


            I’ve heard that, too, but apparently it’s not so:


            In both the blog post and the comments box, they discuss blood typing done on ancient Egyptian, Peruvian and Chilean mummies which yielded blood types other than AB. For instance, Tutankhamun’s blood type tested as A2, a variation on Type A. He lived 1300 years before Christ, so his mummy is a lot older than the Shroud of Turin yet it didn’t test as AB.

    • Imp the Vladaler

      I’d like to go beyond blood typing: let’s get a DNA profile.

  • “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” is not meaningless, nor a stall.

    If I claim to own a car, that’s so ordinary you would probably take me at my word.

    If I claim to own a nuclear missile, you should demand more evidence than my say so.

    If I claim to own a stargate to a planet in a distant galaxy, you should require evidence of the very highest quality. You should doubt even evidence like video footage, because special effects would be much more likely. For such a claim, you should hold out for extraordinary evidence.

    • Imp the Vladaler

      If I claim to own a car, that’s so ordinary you would probably take me at my word.

      Only because the stakes are low. I’m a trial lawyer. Most of the time, if someone says he owns a car, I’ll believe him. But if it’s vitally important to his pecuniary interest that he be able to convince me that he owns a car, I’m going to demand that he put a certified copy of the title and registration in the record. There’s no way that I take him at his word simply because his claim of car-ownership is “ordinary.” What determines whether I believe him is not that it’s an “ordinary” claim, but whether he has any incentive to lie, or shows indicia of untruthfulness.

      If I claim to own a nuclear missile, you should demand more evidence than my say so.

      Sure. But “more” and “extraordinary” are not synonyms. All that it would take for me to believe that you own a nuclear missile would be to show it to me. I’ll come over to your place around six and you can let me have a peek. Nothing “extraordinary” about giving me a look. That’s more evidence than your word, but its proof is not beyond the ordinary levels of proof.

      If I claim to own a stargate to a planet in a distant galaxy, you should require evidence of the very highest quality.

      You’re again treating two words as synonyms that aren’t. “The very highest quality” and “extraordinary” are not synonyms. The primary evidence that I would need of your ownership of such a stargate is a publication related to such a device in a respected journal of astrophysics or one of the big cross-disciplinary journals. There’s nothing extraordinary about that; Science is published weekly.

      • What an expansive idea of ordinariness you have, Imp.

        I don’t actually have a car, though. The dragon in my garage gets very annoyed with intrusions on its space.~

      • Nice analysis, Imp. Another thing that’s getting overlooked (although I think you’re partly addressing it) is that the claims that require extraordinary evidence are those which require a significant response from me.

        You could say, “There’s a strange cat in the backyard,” and I would believe pretty much anyone without requiring extraordinary evidence because, who cares? If you’re lying, so what? But if you were to say, “The President of the United States is in the backyard,” then I would want more evidence of that, because that’s going to require a significant response from me.

        Atheists understand that good evidence for a miracle would require a significant response from them, a response that would involve living their lives significantly differently from the way they’ve been raised (by society, not their parents, necessarily) to live them. So they want extraordinary evidence to overturn the settled judgment of their political-sociological tradition.

  • Elmwood


    • enness