En Passant #7: Miracles And Other Such Stuff


The Indian founder/president of the Indian Rationalist Association, one Sanal Edamaruku, is facing arrest and trial on a charge of; ‘deliberately hurting religious feelings and attempting malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any class or community’.  The reason?  He proved that the water dripping from the feet of a statue of Jesus at the Roman Catholic church ‘Our Lady of Velankinni’ in Mumbia wasn’t actually a sign from God, just due to a blocked wastewater system and seepage (New Scientist, 30 June 2012, pp 27).  Believers were collecting the water and drinking it in the belief that it would cure all ailments.

When asked; ‘Why do people so readily believe in miracles?’, he responded; ‘For many, the regressive belief in superstitions and miracles is an escape from the hardship of life.  Once trapped into irrationalism, they become more incapable of mastering reality.  It is a vicious circle, like an addiction.  They become vulnerable to exploitation by astrologers, godmen, dubious pseudo-psychologists, corrupt politicians and the whole mega-industry of irrationalism.’

Couldn’t have put it any more succinctly.   And in passing, just smiled quietly at its relevance – to Australia, as well as India!

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About deknarf

Australian born and bred who has spent most of his working life in R&D and IP management with earlier forays in the newspaper industry and martial arts. Fortunate enough to be living in one of the best countries in the World, even though I might get grumpy with it from time to time.
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36 Responses to En Passant #7: Miracles And Other Such Stuff

  1. Pingback: On Another Note #1: Hope, Reward, Opportunity? Or Is That Hope, Opportunity, Reward! | Deknarf: The Australia Blog

  2. Sax says:

    Got to remember, I was an “import” during those years, so it seems, you are slightly older than I am. But I seem to remember a rather decrepid Authur Calwell from somewhere ? Menzies’ nemesis wasn’t he ?

    As for the sidekick, apparently the strings must have gotten twisted, and is sick…..
    There may be some justice in this world after all. I suppose though, if it is picking on me, he is leaving someone else alone. That can’t be anything but a valid community service ?

    I remember Ryan, 66 wasn’t it ? A bit unfair comparing to those times though. We had no mining industry, we (as you said) had little or no automation, very few imports, and everyone was gainfully employed because of it. It was before the times of the Datsun imports, and the massive damage to a robust fully employed economy, that would result from that little decision.
    Actually, I think it was before the times of any major imports. We made every thing ourselves, or went without.

    You are also correct about industrial relations. If you didn’t do your job, they fired you, and likewise, if you didn’t like your job, you told the boss to shove it, knowing fully, that you could walk into another job the next day ? Nowadays, there is a machine that does the work of ten men. Tech progression is going faster than factories can retool. As such, our kids are staying at school longer, as there are very few jobs available now, for uneducated/un trained personnel. That is only going to get worse. The days of George Jetson, sitting back in his chair, stating these three hour work days are going to kill me ! aren’t all that laughable any more, nor that far away ?

    As for Red, I aslo am somewhat skeptical. After all, who else is there, at least for the time being. The damage has been done, and probably she will be given an interim period of time to get it all back together again. Doubt whether or not that could be achieved, ball’s in her court I suppose ?

    As for your parting soire, oh don’t get me started.
    You know what we do here, and I have to tell you, that the amount of misinformation regarding AGW is absolutely staggering. All the egg heads, you would think we could and should trust, are all doing what they can, to secure massive research grants, so the little game of Show me the money ! is ruining what is on the whole, the reputations of some really good researchers out there. So, from someone, slightly on the inside of that business, don’t believe all that you hear. The arguments from both sides of the argument are both equally as valid, and no one has definitive information, facts, or valid iron clad conclusions that should be trusted either way. Hence the paranoia from both sides !

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    • lynot says:

      Sax, Ryan was hanged 1967. I mentioned this event in our history because a conservative premier Henry Bolte, used the Ryan case to get re-elected. The media at the time was manipulated by the Packer family to aid that re-election. Look it up it makes interesting reading. As for the job market in the fifties and sixties, it was common practise to give employment to married men, the point being as an employer you could more or less do as you pleased. Your contention that you could tell your employer to shove it, has always been true. However, poverty does not make for good harmonious family relationships.

      A lot of young men in the period mentioned went to work out of necessity, there was still a lot of problems as a consequence of ww2. I have cousins who grew up with out fathers. The social welfare system we appreciate now, in comparison to what was available when I was a child, is better now by an order of magnitude. The changes being fought for by the union movement and its political wing the Labor party. I am not being disingenuous in saying if left to conservatives people from my era, would have starved to death. To deny this salient point only proves the lack of education one has received.

      As for global warming and not getting you started. It is I’m afraid a reality, and what you and other denialists say has no consequence. You will not be allowed to put the planet in peril because of a position that has absolutely no scientific evidence supporting the denialist position.. Thousand of scientists around the planet are in concurrence that there is a problem. To say the scientists involved in that research, are only interested in research grants, is abject nonsense. You could use this analogy for scientists working on a cure for aids or cancer. The bona fide scientists that promote the denialist position, which can be counted on one hand, all have an ulterior motive. They work for the mining/forrest/ etc industry. Lord Monkton the denialist sear (laughing my dick off) who btw is an insult to the intelligence, was paid for by Gina Rinehart.

      Of course, there will always be doubt for the time being about global warming because the fourth estate is owned and paid for by the vested interests that want to keep the status quo, business as usual. Nothing must be allowed to get in the way of more chateaus being built for the f&*(%$# ruining this planet, in the Swiss Alps, Riviera, and our own Sydney Harbour.

      As for our mutual friends who we like to take the piss out of. Yea don’t know what’s going on there. Know all number 2 may have just realised he has made himself a bit marginalised in blogdom defending the other narcissistic half wit. 🙂

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      • Sax says:

        You seem to have mistaken what I said about AGW.
        I was not denying the presence of global warming at all.

        I am, however, arguing, and will do, to my bloody death, that the increase in carbon emissions, was/is the direct cause of it ! If you are one of the throng, that believe pricing, or taxing carbon will achieve the desired result, I feel sorry for you.

        Regulating Carbon is not, and will not, be the panacea that the pollies are telling us. It is a tax grab, of the like unseen since the GST was introduced. If you doubt the veracity of what I say, do a simple google on the basic elements of this planet, and what is required for this planet to function. Everything on this planet, including US, is carbon based. For all the science fraternity to jump on the carbon bandwagon, has me baffled. It is what is attaching itself to the carbon molecules that should be the concern to all. It’s not that hard ffs. Simple year 9 Chemistry.

        Our new carbon tax will have no effect on the massive deforestation, of this planet, in Indonesia for example, probably the major cause of the massive increase in co2, for the last twenty or so years ? Nor will it have anything to do with the massive damage done to PNG, from greedy mining companies ?

        That is the research, I and others, have been doing for nigh on twenty years.
        I collect numbers, I don’t come up with the final conclusions, nor stick my mit out, looking for more research dollars. I am on a fixed contract, with the government, to collect those numbers, good or bad. Again, I am not in denial of the numbers, merely, the conclusions that some of these egg heads are deriving from those numbers.
        That is where my concerns lie, and really, so should yours ?

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      • lynot says:

        Sax I could care less how they solve the global warming problem, but solve it they must.

        BTW you are not a scientist, and what is more, neither am I. However, most of the worlds bona fide scientists by a country mile, are in agreement that the problem is man made. To deny this very salient fact of life is absolute horse shit. As I believe in wealth distribution by what ever means, I could care less if they tackle the problem with a tax component.

        I see the opposition benches are buying up shares in coal like there is no tomorrow. (FACT BTW)

        So spare me any of the old rhetoric about the tax costing jobs, investment, etc, etc, etc, it doesn’t wash. I have heard all the same old bullshit before. When they brought in the forty hour week we were all going to be roooned. When they bought in Medibank we were all going to be roooned. When Eddie Marbo got land rights for his people (a bit rich when he already owned it I know) we were all going to be rooooned.

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      • Sax says:

        No, you are correct, and I have said it, I am certainly no scientist, but am a graduate, with enough years in the field, to be considered at least “learned” ? What is the first thing they teach you, before coming to any hypotheses, or final conclusion ?
        Challenge the evidence ! All of it !

        As I said, you can’t challenge the numbers. They are taken, then taken again by someone else, for confirmation. Also, again, I am not denying the problem is man made. You would have to be a total nutter to say otherwise. My problem is that a new tax, will do as much for the environment, as putting cigarettes in plain paper and stuck under a counter, out of site, did for cigarette related diseases. They tried to tax smoking out of existence ? How’s the tobacco industry doing ? It’s still there going strong, wouldn’t you agree ?

        You should care about the new carbon tax. After all, you, as well as the rest of us, are going to have to pay it, and unlike the GST, it’s level is not bound by legislation. Stand by to be milked and if you honestly believe that the environment will be saved because of it, you’re dreaming. Also, it won’t affect those countries around us, that couldn’t give a rats about the damage they are doing to the environment, as I mentioned above ?

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  3. Sax says:

    Turnbull wasn’t there long enough to be evaluated.

    True enough. It certainly was a tumultuous time for the libs wasn’t it ? Still, even though we know/knew little about him, the “perception” of being an inhabitant of the upper crust, is still out there, and would serve against him. As to who else they can pick, your guess is as good as mine.

    I don’t know how old you are Lynot, but my vintage remembers back to the time when Harold Holt became shark bait, so been around the block a few times.

    I hated Keating’s arrogance, but watching him, in full flight in parliament, against the libs, was an absolute joy to behold.

    Yep for mine, if the polls don’t improve for Red, it’s back to the Ruddster.

    I can’t see anything coming up, either now, or in the near future, that could turn it around for her, or the party. I think she has shot all her bolts, and nothing remains in the quiver ?

    Bad polling, for both parties btw, is nothing new. Both have suffered long term bouts of incredible unpopularity. Both parties, in the last fifty years, have suffered long terms on the opposition benches, as punishment. Nowadays though, the electorate, or poor smuck voter, is a lot more informed, and considers their vote more carefully than in the past. The idea of a party, staying in power now, for thirty odd years, as the libs did, is probably never going to happen again. The aspiring politician knows that nowadays, and once elected, knows they have only a short time to get either noticed, cemented, or booted.

    As for your polling sure. If it were me, I would also, as part of that research, be running around asking all the 16-17 year olds, I could find, for their opinions. That is the next gen coming up, and it would be interesting to see, just what is influencing their views these days. Years ago, it was family and parents, these days, with technology and media taking up more of their time, I wonder what those patterns for that age group would be taking these changes into account ?

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    • lynot says:

      Harold Holt Sax, you’re still a babe in the woods. I remember Menzies, and was at high school when they hung Ronald Ryan. These were the heady years of change from the old to the new. It indeed formed my politics, I wouldn’t piss on a conservative if they were on fire.

      I remember when industrial relations were a misnomer, there were no relations. The employers had the whip hand, and it was in a lot of cases before welfare and safety dangerous to go to work. Consumer protection was non existent, and we more or less had a police state. So anyone under sixty had better save their bullshit opinions for the grandchildren, it wont change me, I was there and lived it.

      Have we got it better, progressed? Of course much better. But we are now starting to find out the cost for that progress. We have whole generations of families that have never worked due to automation (code for cost cutting), global warming, which the latter being real. Anyone doubting the reality of that, are frankly barking mad. I could go on.

      But anyways, I agree with you it may be over for Red. But a week is a long time in politics. The sliver of light that may jus save them as I said, is the Slipper/Thomson conspiracy. As for polling demographics, I think kids are just better educated these days, and the ones that do lean slightly to the left must know where their local library is. A place which is an anathema to most conservatives. Interesting months ahead.

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  4. lynot says:

    Yea no worries deknarf.

    Hey Sax, Turnbull wasn’t there long enough to be evaluated. However, unlike Abbott, he does come across as someone who knows what he is talking about. Time will tell. As I said, as sure as night follows day, they’re going to dump Abbott. The real movers and shakers that run the Liberal party, most of whom are not even in government, know Abbott is a loose cannon.

    Yep for mine, if the polls don’t improve for Red, it’s back to the Ruddster.

    As an aside Sax if you were as old as me, you would know the present polling for Labor is nothing new. I’ve seen it all before. Anyone really honest wouldn’t have given Keating a chance in his last win. But win he did against all odds and the pundits.

    A very salient point was pointed out to me ref the polling, they are not including the kids, who are far to bright to fall for the rhetoric of Tony Abbott. We may all be surprised.

    As an aside, I see our favourite professor of knowledge on everything side kick is conspicuous by his absence from the wise one’s blog. Trouble at mill????????

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  5. deknarf says:

    NB: Sax, I was referring to our current crop of Federal Politicians, not the erudite and learned folk that grace the comments sections of blogs! 🙂

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  6. lynot says:

    “How can you be positive without any doubt that there is no hell? ”

    Easy. As Hell is a man made concept as is heaven, ipso facto, there is no hell.

    Now if your talking about hell on earth? Well! That is a very different matter. We are about to elect the most right wing reactionary politician since federation, who just may explain what hell means.

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    • deknarf says:

      I’ll drink to Hell being both a man-made concept and the fact that we will soon elect our own Hell when Phoney Tony becomes PM!
      A nice red would be good!

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      • lynot says:

        Try a case of Red. The sad fact is, Abbott will no doubt get the majority of the religious loonies voting for him, especially the Catholics. For the more rancid among their numbers Tony will be like the second coming. The future does not bode well.

        For mine I give a shit, I’m in my dotage.But I fear for my children, Abbott if he is elected, will make Billy McMahon look like Albert Einstein. Still I believe we just may need the shock that is coming to awaken Australians out of their comas. Interesting times ahead.

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        • deknarf says:

          Lynot you are depressing me even further — it looks like a two case job from here!
          One can only hope that realisation dawns on a public that takes Phoney Tony and the NO Coalition at face value without questioning. The Liberals have turned ultra-conservative. In fact they’d now scare Atilla the Hun!

          Like

    • Sax says:

      Geez Lynot, really, you can’t be serious, and hint, that Dullard, and her gang of incompetents, deserve another shot at sending us broke, do you ?

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      • lynot says:

        Sax oh……Sax. Look me old China the government has had its problems to be sure. However, to say the economy is not going well is nonsense, and at the end of the day that’s their job, which by any yard stick they have been doing well and have achieved their goals. Only a fool would not concede the media has not had it in for Gillard since the coup on Rudd, and they are driving the current fear campaign on the carbon tax in all its glory.

        The Slipper affair will no doubt like the Thomson set up, bring down some high rollers in the Liberal party, this is why the opposition is hell bent on trying every conceivable trick in the book to get government. The dirt is slowly coming out on this seedy affair, and some in the Liberal party could well be looking at gaol.

        Although I have said that Abbott is going to be elected, as you know, a week is a long time in politics, It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Labor could just get elected again. When people sit down and contemplate, especially the poor, social welfare recipients, the sick and injured, a future under a man who will go down in history as the most right wing reactionary this country has produced, it may turn the tide.

        If the Labor party loses, it will not be because of Gillard, although the coup on Rudd didn’t help, its because they will have run a poor re-election campaign.

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      • Sax says:

        Sure, you’re right there, but the labor party’s major mistake, was to attempt to buy their way out of misery. The world financial crisis, for Australia was a massive furphy, and their hell bent course, of trying to save us from a crisis, (that all in the know, knew would never affect us), was going to lead to their downfall. The spending of a massive war chest in less than half a term, was just staggering, and was to set a tone for the rest of their tenure, that was predictable in its failure.

        As for Abbott ? We have had these discussions many times over the past times, and you all know my opinion there. He is a failure. All the charisma of a carrot.

        If labor is to survive, the Libs with Abbott in charge will be the only way that can be done. The unfortunate thing is, even if Labor put someone else in charge, the damage is so severe, and the labor brand is so damaged now, that all is left for them, is the inevitable self implosion ?

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      • lynot says:

        I think you may be right Sax time will tell.

        My money is still on a Rudd come back. This will give the Libs the opportunity to dump Abbott and put in Turnbull, who I think may just have a chance.

        This I will bet on. If the Gods want to have a laugh and put in Abbott, he will only be a 1 term P.M. he is not going to be P.M. on his own merits, but as you say, the true/perceived Labor stuff ups.

        If I know anything about Australians they don’t like extremists left or right.

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      • deknarf says:

        Interesting how a little blogspot on (well irrationality really) turned so quickly to our motley mob of venal, self-serving political elitists.

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      • Sax says:

        Don’t know if that was pointed my way or not ?
        Elitists ? Hardly. Pragmatist maybe.
        😉

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      • lynot says:

        “Political elitist “Jesus I like Sax hope that wasn’t directed at me? I am that far left and working class I make Karl Marx look like a clone of Tony Rabbit.

        I was sick of taking the piss out of our well known right wing know all, I thought I would come here for some proper debate.

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        • deknarf says:

          Oooh Noo noo nooo lynot, I was referring to our current crop of Federal Politicians, not the erudite and learned folk that grace the comments sections of blogs (this one in particular)!

          Reply

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      • Sax says:

        The funny thing is, if Rudd were to return, and an ironclad promise, that the faction that caused Dullard’s ascension to power, could be guaranteed to be silent for five minutes, I am certain that it would still be a close race. I for one, would still vote for labor under Rudd, rather than Abbott.

        Turnbull, nup, they tried him. No one will vote for a person they can’t, at least in some degree, (bank balance notwithstanding ?) empathise with.

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  7. Brad Stanton says:

    well, i love your post and it is rather humorous, and probably true. However, it doesn’t prove that miracles don’t exist. I’ve seen many miracles. I’ve been healed by miracles and all sorts of other stuff.

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    • deknarf says:

      I’m please that you’ve been healed Brad (whatever that means) but I’m of the view that there are no such thing as miracles. Most of these have rational explanations underpinning them.

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  8. Sax says:

    You guys are right, but, you have all danced around one of the major issues involved here.
    Money !

    Religion is a business, much like your local 7/11, and a real lucrative one at that.

    One only has to have a sleepless Saturday night, and turn the telly on. Those churches that broadcast their sermons to “the needy”. Look at all the trappings !
    It is not only about the manipulation of the gullible, but also the manipulation of everything ! Individual religions are still, after thousands of years, attempting to manipulate, and dominate the rest. The latest, Islam, is just more violent in its methods.

    How do you go, or how does anyone go, attempting to debunk those using religion to further their aims when these religions can rally their followers, to virtually challenge any political system in the world today ? Look at the US, and the influence religion has on the selection, and the voting for individual aspirants in the political process ? Those using religion, for the furtherment of their own aims (al qaeda should ring a bell or two ?), are the reason why the whole process should have no credibility, and be ignored.

    Its not the individuals involved, rather the power hungry that want to control religion that are the problem. Many years ago, there was a movie called Monsignor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsignor_%28film%29) which opened the eyes to all, about just how political, and corrupt the internals of the church could be.

    Unfortunately, the more seedy, rely on our apathy, ignorance, and most of all fear, to infiltrate and attempt to dominate. That’s only going to get worse ?

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    • deknarf says:

      Turn to a Religious channel Sax? I’d rather poke my eye out with a stick!

      And I agree with you it’s about money, power and control using people’s gullibility as the lever.

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      • Sax says:

        Nah, just flicking through the channels, especially Sunday morning, waiting for a ball game to come on.

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      • Sax says:

        BTW, again, try to get that movie Monsignor .
        A real eye opener, as to the boolsheet, that is the Church.

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        • deknarf says:

          Thanks I’ll check it out. Although given the behaviour of the Catholic Church I’d say that my convictions that they are truly ‘they opiate of the people’ are well founded.
          PS: To those that jump to contusions — I am not, nor have I ever been a Communist. But I do like the phrease!

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  9. Victor says:

    I was talking to a guy from China the other day about the various very PC rules they enforce over there in relation to minorities — PC is yet another product the West has infested the world with.

    The only problem I have with these Sceptic/Rationalist types is that the universe is fundamentally an irrational place – so any strident attempt to “debunk irrationalism” often ends seeming a more irrational position than one that incorporates a healthy dose of irrationalism…if that’s not too completely irrational to make any sense.

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    • deknarf says:

      Hmmm! As a rationalist sceptic type person Victor I have an uncomfortable feeling that you’ve given me a circuitous argument . . . . . . if you see what I mean. ;-/

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  10. Sadly, it has become all too common for any debunking of anything to be treated as an attack on everything! The world is going to Hell in a Hand-basket. Even though I don’t believe in Hell and have no idea where this hand-basket is at this moment!

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    • deknarf says:

      The hand-basket is on loan to the Scientologists and Hell is the figment of the wildest imaginings of religious zealots who see fear as a way to control the gullible!

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    • Sax says:

      I have no doubts about hell Brad, we are already living or preparing to live in that one now ?
      It’s heaven.
      Now, there is the one I have real doubts about ?
      😦

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