The Science Behind the Myth of 'Miracles'
January 29, 2013 by Keilan Schembri
In other words, miracles simply do not happen. Everything follows a natural law, and although we may not know it, there is a rational response to everything, without the need of divine intervention
A rare or conveniently timed event is exactly that – no gods required.
To take a simple example, Mother Teresa has a ‘miracle’ to her name (which she apparently performed after she died). Monica Bursa, who prayed to her, was cured of cancer. Of course, the Vatican, needing a new figurehead to try and reignite the faith of believers, accepted it. Instead, we like to take the scientific route and find out what actually saved her life. What really was it? Medical Science. Her doctors say that her tumour disappeared as a result of medical treatment, after being caught at an early stage and responding to the treatment steadily. Monica Besra’s husband, in an interview, said “My wife was cured by doctors and not by any miracle”
As we know, the water turning to blood is the first of the plagues. This led the way to the next few plagues. Frogs came next. Frogs transformation into fully formed adults is governed by hormones, and their development can be sped up in times of stress. The arrival of the toxic algae, combined with less fish in the muddy waters eating the eggs, could have triggered many frogs to grow and be forced to leave the water where they were living.
A rise in the number of dead frogs would undoubtedly invite insects to feed upon them. This seems to explain the next couple plagues, lice flies and wild animals. As we know, insects carry diseases and infections and their increased numbers would explain the outbreak of disease of the livestock, and boils on the skins of humans from bites, which coincidentally, were the next two plagues.
The 7th, 8th, and 9th plagues can be explained as a result of a natural disaster that happened over 400 miles away. The plagues are Hail, Locusts, and darkness.
They are thought to be the result of one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in human history, coming from a volcano called Thera, on the island of Santorini. Volcanic ash would’ve clashed with a thunderstorm to produce a dramatic hailstorm. The ash fall out would also cause changes in the weather, bringing about a much higher humidity, resulting in a plague of locusts. The volcanic ash would have also blocked the sun, bringing darkness, our 9th Plague.
The male first born of an Egyptian family was always more important, as they would take lead of the family once the father passed away. This means that they would have first picking of the food. It is thought that a fungus could have poisoned a large amount of the grain supplies, meaning that the first born would also be the first to die from eating it.
Sanal Edmaruku was accused of blasphemy, was charged with offences that carried a 3 year prison sentence and after receiving death threats, was forced to seek exile in Finland. This is also an example of cognitive dissonance, where a person will attack or ignore facts that prove part of their belief system is wrong, and will do anything to ensure that their faith goes unharmed.
In summary, miracles do not happen. Reality happens, but reality is extraordinary and can take you by surprise and do things that you might not be able to explain. That is not to say that maybe someone else, now or at any other point in time, cannot explain it either. Even if it will never be explained, I can guarantee you that it followed natural law, even if it seemed like the most unlikely of events. As with for proof of god, I challenge anyone who believes they have definite proof of a miracle occurring to bring forward the evidence and have me or others review it.
'A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is considered to be divine'
For those other “miracles” that are yet to be explained, a better word for them would be mysteries. We are unaware of how they happen, but we can safely assume that they can be explained using natural means. Our ignorance is not proof of the supernatural. It is unsurprising that talk of miracles in the world usually comes from societies who have a much lower level of scientific understanding. People who have a lesser understanding of the natural world are far more likely to use supernatural explanations for odd events. For some reason, people don’t like to admit that they don’t know why something happened.
Although not strictly a miracle, and by no means a 100% correct explanation of events, some scientists have come up with a rational response for the plagues in Egypt.
Climatologists discovered a shift of climate towards the end of Rameses the Second’s Reign. They have found that there was a dry period, which brought consequences. The river started drying up, instead turning into a slow moving and muddy watercourse, perfect for algae to grow. Specifically, Burgundy Blood Algae, a toxic fresh water algae, which still causes similar effects today. As it dies, it stains the water red.
Despite this, people still prefer to believe that it was all god.
Dr Robert Miller, associate professor of the Old Testament, from the Catholic University of America, said: "I'm reluctant to come up with natural causes for all of the plagues. The problem with the naturalistic explanations is that they lose the whole point. And the whole point was that you didn't come out of Egypt by natural causes, you came out by the hand of God."
To religious institutions, it is important that they recognise miracles, as this is supposed evidence of their god intervening with people and events in their life. And when they teach that miracles are true, people want them to be true. They can see a natural explanation as a threat to their belief in god. This is exactly what happened when an atheist in Mumbai discovered that a ‘weeping Jesus’ was actually just a result of faulty plumbing. The statue had quickly been declared a miracle and people begun collecting its ‘holy water’. The Church of Our Lady of Velankanni began to promote it as a site of pilgrimage.