Thursday, September 5, 2013

... on Maria Valtorta and Alexandrina da Costa, Bedridden Miracles and Saints, and on Fact Checking Miracles

Video commented on:
TheThinkingAtheist : Understanding Christianese-Lesson 1
Continued from earlier post:
Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Divine, Angelic, Lower Causalities and on Natural Law Never Causing Anything
Hans-Georg Lundahl
I did not argue against how digestion works.

I did not say shit and energy from the body join together to become food, I know it is the other way round.

I did say the exact speed, intensity and initial needs of the process can vary very extremely according to the will of its Creator. God.

There is nothing in your biology book to disprove that. There is nothing in any lab test about digestion to disprove that. There are exemples that do prove that. Like Maria Valtorta.
There is nothing to disprove divine intervention, sure. But there is also nothing to prove it, and this is where the argument falls through the cracks. According to the "Philosophic burden of proof", the burden of proof remains with the believer, NOT the skeptic. Saying something is not disprovable is NOT equivalent to saying it is provable.

Also, those phenomenon are not only explained but physically impossible and easily faked. Not controlled experiments, nor peer-reviewed.
Hans-Georg Lundahl
You may have failed to grasp that I was answering a guy who held that experiments could positively disprove any kind of divine intervention in digestion.

You may have failed to notice that I mentioned Maria Valtorta who was under intense medical observation, so her living of one Communion per day and no other food was not easy but impossible to fake. She did not live five centuries ago, she lived last century. Her life overlapped if not with mine, at least with my ma's. Italy was not 3d World.
A controlled experiment would have a ventilated, but otherwise sealed room with a restroom and a passcode that only the lead controlling scientist has access to. Even the ventilation would be dicey, as it is easy to sneak food through ventilation if someone is dedicated to faking an experiment like that. But anyway, why would you love a God who is busy making sure Maria can live on one cracker a day to prove a point instead of curing SIDS in third world countries?
Hans-Georg Lundahl
Because Alexandrina da Costa (who did survive from 42 to 55 without earthly food) is loveable.

[I checked the sources, and I had confused Alexandrina da Costa with Maria Valtorta (both being saints I learnt of recently).]

And because that grace of God, though not desired by me for myself, is desireable and loveable.

As for curing AIDS in every victim, it is not anything like what God promised. Not until Christ return, which he has not.
How about at least causing every rape or murder to go wrong? If he did that, the criminal would technically have not committed a crime, there would be no victim, and God wouldn't send one person to an untimely death and another to burn in hell for eternity because of one impulsive mistake. God has given humanity no empirical evidence of his existence yet he will send those who question his existence to burn in hell for eternity. I tell myself that no one could believe in a God so evil.
Pat Doyle
Here's a simpler rebuttal for him: Alexandrina had a fall at age 14 that caused gradual paralysis, and she was bed ridden for the last 30 yrs of her life. If she was so freaking loveable that god chose to send her a miracle, why not fix her paralysis? BTW, during the time she supposedly lived on only Eucharist, she withered away to 73 lbs, and died at 51 years old. Maybe if she had eaten some real food, instead of wolfing down pasty crackers, she might have lived longer.

Alexandrina isn't really my field of expertise. Physics and biology are my main sources of counter-arguments for creationists. I don't know how to deal with gullible idiots that still swear that psychics aren't frauds and such.
Hans-Georg Lundahl
Oh you are still unable to:

  • get that it was Alexandrina who lived on one communion per day for years (supervised by medical doctors)

  • and that it was Maria Valtorta whom you misname a psychic. She was (unlike mediums) bedridden for years, her doctors and other personnel could verify what she had access to, she was not in frenzied trances like the mediums talking to people consulting her, she did get visions and they have been verified as correct into astronomical details for constellations.
As a creationist you represent the opposition of progressiveness and the reason humans are considered primitive, unintellectual beings.
Hans-Georg Lundahl
Oh, and how said primitive humans were not intellectual? The evolutionist crew, who - some of them - cannot think up a better answer on Maria Valtorta's visions, checked by medicine for lack of other possible sources, checked by astronomy for accuracy.

Now that is a bit self serving. But thanks for bumping up previous discussion - that serves me all right.
Maria Valtorta's visions are not peer reviewed or controlled, and so will never be considered a scientific fact or even an observation. It is your duty to provide a study proving how and why a girl who withered away while feasting on communion crackers proves that a malicious intangible being created the universe and broke the second law of thermodynamics at the same time.
Hans-Georg Lundahl
Maria Valtorta was the saint with visions. Alexandrina da Costa the saint who lived on one piece of bread the size of a coin per day - unless the bread was in fact God who created both life and bread, which explains better how she could survive.

And both have been far better controlled than lots of things you believe are proven.

Both of these were bedridden. Both of these lived in a Century with very keen medical observation. Both were observed by doctors for the relevant years.

By the way, you asked for studies. Valtorta first:

Jean-François Lavère

Lecteur français. Il a entrepris de démontrer l'historicité des écrits de Maria Valtorta. Sur les 10.000 données de l'œuvre qu'il a recensé, 8.000 ont été analysées et validées à 99,6%

Then da Costa:

On 27 March 1942, a new phase began for Alexandrina which would continue for 13 years and seven months until her death. She received no nourishment of any kind except the Holy Eucharist, at one point weighing as few as 33 kilos (approximately 73 pounds).

Medical doctors remained baffled by this phenomenon and began to conduct various tests on Alexandrina, acting in a very cold and hostile way towards her. This increased her suffering and humiliation,

Links for studies:

ppt d o t li/valtorta []

ppt d o t li/dacosta []
Branch off from my earlier comment
Alexandrina was the one who lived on one Communion every day.

Maria Valtorta's visions were not necessarily physical or what an atheist would automatically stamp as hallucinations. And the remarcable thing is that scholars have infirmed no details of those she could not have known naturally since her only reading was Bible and one Catechism.

Just because I mixed Alexandrina and Maria Valtorta up to previous comment or one before, does not mean you have to.
Doesn't matter what her name is. What matters is that the human mind is extremely susceptible to hallucination, and unless she can provide some proof that she simply didn't dream it or hallucinate it, no one should regard it as scientific fact. If you are seriously considering that an uncontrolled and extremely unprofessional experiment and a few random hallucinations are proof of an omniscient god, I'm done replying to you.
Hans-Georg Lundahl
"What matters is that the human mind is extremely susceptible to hallucination"

say the atheist and atheistic shrinks ...

"unless she can provide some proof that she simply didn't dream it or hallucinate it, no one should regard it as scientific fact"

The fact is that endogenous hallucinations could not have provided her with coherent information not available otherwise and whenever checkable true.

When we talk of Valtorta's works afaik [=as far as I know] no part has been falsified by anyone - and many tried.
Pat Doyle
It's rather hard to falsify fiction about events we know little or nothing about. Heck, you can't even falsify "Star Wars" since it happened "Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away". SA bed ridden woman with nothing else to do took the very skeletal story of Jesus in the Bible and fleshed it out with either fiction or hallucination, or (just to be fair) historical stories directly sent to her by the creator of the universe. Hmmm... I wonder which seems the most likely explanation?
Hans-Georg Lundahl
Gospels are not set in Narnia, Eriador or "long ago in a galaxy far away".

They are set in Palestine two thousand years ago (ok, Crucifixion and Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost would be 1980 years ago).

Fiction and hallucination in the fleshing out would have jarred with known facts about the period. Especially with astronomic facts not yet known when she wrote.
Pat Doyle
It did jar with known facts, that's why most of the Jews and Romans (especially the informed and educated ones) didn't believe him. Do you think people, especially in a time where there was effectively no education or news media for most people, care about facts?! If they did there would not be a Church of Scientology today, nor a Mormon church, and likely not any church.
Hans-Georg Lundahl
Said the parson of an atheist Church.

Actually standardised media and education are great means of brain washing, and modern man is more likely than men back then not to be checked effectively by people caring about facts.

And no, the Jews who refused to believe Him still saw His miracles and could not explain away His resurrection except by lying - for all their education.
[Pat Doyle]
comment no longer extant
Hans-Georg Lundahl
If Jews saw no miraculous healings or the resurrection of Lazarus who had been dead four days, why is their Talmudic literature, the Toledoth Jesu tracts and possibly tracts in Talmud itself, full of explanations of magical nature rather than faltly denying he did miracles?

It is you who are blinded by modernity (and fanaticism) if you think there was a time when fact checking did not apply or was impossible.

Miracles do not typically get recorded in absense, but in presence of fact checking.
Pat Doyle
First, the Lazarus of Jewish lore is generally considered to be a different character than the Bible story. And tell me - how do you "fact check" a miracle? Testimony is certainly not good enough. There are false yogis in India today and there are stories of the miracles they perform, but western "magicians" can recreate everything they do. An illusionist can easily fool a bunch of superstitious primitives and it still happens today. See Peter Popoff.
Hans-Georg Lundahl
"An illusionist can easily fool a bunch of superstitious primitives and it still happens today."

As can a hypnotist, which is probably how Odin won a crown in Sweden. But you see, the Mediterranean of the times was not as superstitiously primitive as Sweden. If Jesus were said to have done His miracles in early Germanic Sweden, you might have had a point.

Your question about how I fact check miracles is as idiotic as the pharisees asking Jesus for one right after he had done one before their eyes (which they refused to be satisfid with for sabbatical reasons). Testimony is enough for events. And certain events are not naturally explicable. Which remains quite true even if others that are, are mistaken for such as are not.

I just detailed the fact checking about Alexandrina and Maria Valtorta, very recent lives, easy fact check even now.
Pat Doyle
Really? People who believed in witches, sorcery, demon possession as the cause of disease, soothsaying, ritual sacrifice, curing disease with bird's blood and rituals? These people are not superstitious? I'd bet they were a lot more superstitious than many of the people who are fooled by such hucksters today. And no miracle of Jesus was recorded by anyone but his followers. No pharisee or Roman official ever described witnessing such things.
Hans-Georg Lundahl
That is minus the Pharisees and Roman officials who became Christians.

It is also discounting their indirect admission of his miracles by:

  • as said ascribing Magic Sorcery to Christ

  • as said not showing up the grave with Jesus' body, but pretending the Disciples stole it.

Which of above do you count as so superstitious as to make them incapable of ascertaining fact?

Laws for lepers Leviticus 14 were not there to cure them, but they were there for cured lepers as a ritual cleansing.

"2 This is the rite of a leper, when he is to be cleansed: He shall be brought to the priest:

3 *Who going out of the camp, when he shall find that the leprosy is cleansed,"
[Douay-Rheims version]

Find. That. Is.

That is not superstition, it is ritual. Prefiguring penance.

And taking that as a fake cure is being superstitiously against ritual.

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