December 30, 2009

Christmas miracle.

Not really, of course. (Or do you think otherwise?) But it's damned cool: A mother (seemingly) dies in labor, and the baby is (seemingly) stillborn:
The doctors told the husband they would then take his son out, as they could not revive the mother.

"They handed him to me, he's absolutely lifeless," Hermanstorfer said.

But the doctors worked on him, and suddenly he came to.

"His life began in my hands," Hermanstorfer said. "That's a feeling like no other."

Soon after, Tracy Hermanstorfer's pulse returned, even though she had no heartbeat for roughly four minutes.

Divine intervention?

Probably.

No way.

Who knows?

  

pollcode.com free polls

82 comments:

New York said...

How about an option for "nature is just another manifestation of God, so in a sense everything is divine intervention"?

vbspurs said...

The Probablies and Who Knows will be about even, with the probablies being the leader. Because at the end of the day, most of us are not arrogant enough to make the completely certain assertion of "No way".

This also describes why atheists have never outnumbered believers in the history of the world. Not even close.

vbspurs said...

OT: Cartoon of the Year.

Old RPM Daddy said...

It's a neat story, and one can't help but be happy for all concerned, but I don't think there's anything in it that would change anyone's current beliefs.

Scott M said...

My first thought, disturbingly enough, was that the Satanists out there are now going to be gunning for the kid under the assumption he's the second coming of Jesus.

I really need to get out more.

traditionalguy said...

Every birth is a miracle bringing a totally new person into the planet earth to enjoy his/her own parents and later in life his/her own children. Guarding their prescious lives from the cult of killing off extra people has become a full time job lately.

Ann Althouse said...

"How about an option for "nature is just another manifestation of God, so in a sense everything is divine intervention"?"

I think my use of the phrase "divine intervention" made that option inappropriate. You can say everything is "divine" or has a divine origin, but the question is about miracles, in the sense of intervention. It's not a test of whether you believe in God.

EDH said...

To survive all that, only to be named Coltyn?

"Eddie is a real name!"

Warning: Audio NSFW.

edutcher said...

Yes, Ann, it is a miracle. You know that, you're a mom.

There is such a thing as being too rational.

vbspurs said...

The Probablies and Who Knows will be about even, with the probablies being the leader. Because at the end of the day, most of us are not arrogant enough to make the completely certain assertion of "No way".

At this moment, it's running 3 to 2 to 1 Who knows-Probably-No way. I'm guessing it will stay that way until the Grinches hear about it.

You are right, though, about the arrogance factor and it speaks well for the Althousians that "No way" is running a poor third.

WV "ovewama" What a certain POTUS will be saying about his charm, charisma, and chances for re-election.

Henry said...

...at the end of the day, most of us are not arrogant enough to make the completely certain assertion of "No way".

I am.

garage mahal said...

It's a neat story, and one can't help but be happy for all concerned,

Except for the mother, who died, leaving the baby motherless. Not too miraculous.

miller said...

"most of us...'I am' "

I'm sorry, but what is the purpose of that post?

"Most of us" means "most of the people who read the article or hear about it."

It does not mean "100%."

I'm glad you are free to express your opinion. But really, why this post? Were you afraid someone might think you were agreeing with the "divine intervention" crowd?

Do you stand around malls telling kids there's no Santa Claus, too? Just so you keep your integrity?

traditionalguy said...

Declaring a miracle in the sense of being attributed to a supernatural agency unexplainable by normal physical causes and therefore seen as a sign of a personal intent by an unseen spiritual person having the power to make life conquer death is an act of faith in that person.

kalmia said...

I have to vote "no way." I'm not a materialist or an atheist, but I cannot believe in a capricious God who intervenes sometimes but other times lets tragedy run rampant. Whatever God is, this couldn't be it.

William said...

Before Obama and the health care reforms this never would have happened.

MrBuddwing said...

Except for the mother, who died, leaving the baby motherless. Not too miraculous.

Read the whole blasted story, will ya?

Jimmy said...

Why won't you right-wing rethuglicans report the whole story that the baby and mama came back to life just as Obama's voice came over the OR radio?? Deniers!!

garage mahal said...

MrBuddWing
Sorry, you are right. Dud

AllenS said...

Let's have a round of applause for garage who said "sorry" because he made a mistake.

Anthony T. said...

It's Obama's fault!!

Oh no. It was a good thing. Must be something that George W. did.

God bless W.!!!

MadisonMan said...

AllenS, that is mean.

I don't think it too miraculous. Chalk it up to modern medicine -- this would have been two deaths not too long ago.

AllenS said...

What on earth was mean about what I said? garage did you take offense?

michaele said...

I prefer not to think of God as being so proactively interventionist is picking winners and losers. There's too much awful stuff that happens to very fine and decent people.

traditionalguy said...

The cruel neutrality of the unbeliever has also said at times like these that," So what, now the person raised from the dead will only have to die later." It takes is a willful act to insist that a saved life is no better outcome than a lost life. But those thinkers are certainly prime candidates for Cruel King Obama's Death Panel appointees. BTW,did you catch MoDo's comparing Obama performance last week as a Guardian president to Spock on Star Treck

Henry said...

@miller -- I'm responding to a comment on a blog. I'm putting my name to my vote, no more than that. Why are you extrapolating?

Meade said...

"Divine intervention?"

I doubt it.

Who says God even wants to be worshiped and prayed to? Maybe he finds it annoying of us to do that. Maybe he wishes we would all just grow up, learn to let go of our suffering and to be grateful for His creation and make the best of it all on our own. Could be He's become bored with this one and has already gone on to other projects.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Babies don't automatically breath the instant that they emerge. After all, they haven't been breathing for about 9 months. Once the umbilical cord is severed or the blood supply is cut off, as in the case of the mother's heart stopping beating, then there is a problem if the baby's heart is also not beating. Breathing doesn't have that much effect unless the lack of breath is continued.

I would imagine that having an emergency cesarean without anesthetic could restart a person's heart. Yowzer!!!

Nevertheless. Whether divine intervention or not, still a pretty miraculous and wonderful outcome.

Henry said...

Nevertheless. Whether divine intervention or not, still a pretty miraculous and wonderful outcome.

Absolutely. And mother and baby went home two days later. That's amazing.

Charlie Martin said...

"A miracle is a change in perception."

That said, there's a lot about this story that I don't quite get. She woke up after four minutes of asystole—okay, maybe, especially with CPR and ventilation. "her hand was ice cold" in four minutes? I dunno.

My strongest suspicion is that this story would sound a lot different if Dr Martin (no relation btw) was describing it to another neonatologist.

Arturius said...

Who says God even wants to be worshiped and prayed to?

Well I think the Bible has a few passages here and there that make some reference to paying homage to him or her.

Never could quite understand the whole 'miracle of birth' meme myself. Its just one part of the natural cycle of life right along with eating, sleeping, defacting and finally dying.

Now if my two kids could keep their rooms clean, that would be miraculous.

chickenlittle said...

What a great story, regardless of the thrashing it takes here.


wv: "intra" hee!

Fred4Pres said...

Strange things happen. It is definitely a miracle for this family. That is good enough for me.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

vbspurs said...

The Probablies and Who Knows will be about even, with the probablies being the leader. Because at the end of the day, most of us are not arrogant enough to make the completely certain assertion of "No way".

Which just goes to show that it was a poorly designed poll. 'Probably' should have been balanced with 'Probably Not', and 'No Way' should have been balanced with 'Absolutely'.

I went with 'Who Knows', but not due to a lack of arrogance.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Never could quite understand the whole 'miracle of birth' meme myself

Maybe it has to do with being a woman and actually participating in the process.

Its just one part of the natural cycle of life right along with eating, sleeping, defacting and finally dying.

Well, when your turds start crying, talking and begging for the car keys, you might consider that miraculous.

Seriously. The idea that you can produce from inside your body a brand new, living, breathing, thinking human being who might grow up and change the world....or not....is a miraculous and wonderous thing.

The experience of looking into that little person's face and wondering "Who are you?" "What will you be?" Accepting the awesome responsibility, not just as an animal instinct to parent/mother, but as a human being connected to other human beings is also awesome.

I don't think it quite compares to taking a dump.

Just sayin'

Scott M said...

Nevertheless. Whether divine intervention or not, still a pretty miraculous and wonderful outcome.

Current vernacular aside, is it technically possible to have a miracle or have something happen that's miraculous without divine intervention?

traditionalguy said...

Meade...The Creator that has left and gone on to other things sounds more like an animal and not like a father. The cross experience for which Jesus was sent to us shows the love of God for his creation, and focusing on that reestablishes our relationship with our seemingly renegade Father.

Skyler said...

Well, there's no such thing as magic so I guess I'm arrogant to some bigots.

What is intersting to me is that if I were the father there is no way I would want to hold a child while the doctor was trying to revive (or just vive?) it. I trust the doctor implicitly and I would rather not do something wrong out of ignorance while the doctor was working.

Ann Althouse said...

"Yes, Ann, it is a miracle. You know that, you're a mom."

Well, what do you think of this: My mother always made a big point of letting me know that I was "born with a halo." That is, I had black hair with a ring of blond, like a halo. Then the hair fell out, the way it does on newborns, and it grew back in auburn. Now, do you think that meant anything? I was left to puzzle over that as a child.

Mark Daniels said...

Questions of miracles aside, how is this "damned" cool? What's so damnable about the story's coolness? Just a point of syntax.

By the way, the word verification here is "surge."

miller said...

I admire people who are completely certain it's "no way."

Me, I'm more skeptical.

And as DBQ says, it's only unremarked because it's so common, but we make new humans every day; they generally come out of the womb fully functional, and given time and nourishment turn out to be people with will, intelligence, and emotions.

It gets me every time -- such incredible potential created again and again and again.

Something in nature desired people to not be exact duplicates but instead to have individuality.

The whole process of how humans are created, gestated, and born is like nature's Rube Goldberg machine. But in this case, the result is wonderous, not mundane.

Ah Pooh said...

Off topic but - damned cool Christmas post over at Jaltcoh.

JAL said...

Then the hair fell out, the way it does on newborns, and it grew back in auburn. Now, do you think that meant anything? I was left to puzzle over that as a child.

It means cool genes.

wv susnelie
Two sisters.

Ann Althouse said...

"Could be He's become bored with this one and has already gone on to other projects."

That would be Creator-style. Why would he watch passively? Why would He tinker with the closed system he did such a fabulous job of creating?

What if there is a God, but he doesn't want to be believed in? Do something in the world and appreciate how great it is *without* added magic tricks.

JAL said...

Meade @ 11:04

Cynic?

JAL said...

What if there is a God, but he doesn't want to be believed in? Do something in the world and appreciate how great it is *without* added magic tricks.

It's not tricks. It's relationship.

Henry said...

Is God Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak? Some Creators have to keep tinkering.

Arturius said...

Dust Bunny

My point is that birth is a natural cycle of life, nothing miraculous about it. Perhaps it has something to do with me being a non-religious person.

miller said...

"Believing" in God (in this context) isn't some exercise in imagination only as if God were simply a bigger Easter Bunny.

"Believing" in this sense is "believing in London" to someone who's never been there but relies upon the reports of those who have (and have returned) and upon things like maps, Google, and travel documentaries.

I can't speak for God, of course, but posit that He exists; then, your reaction to that is belief, just as your reaction to the reality of Meade is that he exists, too.

Scott M said...

@Arturius

Faithful or no, one could easily replace the word miraculous with awesome using it's original definition...something that is so awe-inspiring you can barely breath/speak/function.

As the father of four, I can tell you that it is indeed the most awesome and terrifying thing I have ever done...and I went back for seconds, thirds, and fourths.

chuck b. said...

How wonderful for them! It's like a movie ending or something. But if it was a movie you wouldn't believe it.

Pogo said...

I am more curmudgeonly than most, but the inability to accept miracles seems a life diminished.

For some, all the living world expresses its merely animal nature, and nothing is or can be miraculous.

For some, it is arrogance or pride, rejecting the need for miracles.

For some, it comes from their view of God, who would not need to be involved with petty details.

For some, it is a problem of definitions. A miracle should be unassailably arising from God. This of course requires an event that is in effect supernatural.

I count myself with those that find miracles in small things such as newborn babies, beautiful art arising from flawed humans, coordinated economies produced by millions of selfish individual pursuits, or the minor intrusive thought telling you to reed a certain book that contains insights you needed that very moment.

I prefer to leave myself open to the idea that the human idea of what God is or is not, or what He can or cannot or should not do, cannot and does not constrain Him.

Arturius said...

@Arturius

Faithful or no, one could easily replace the word miraculous with awesome using it's original definition...something that is so awe-inspiring you can barely breath/speak/function.


And that is perfectly fine. Miraculous on the other hand denotes some type of divine intervention, something that doesn't happen every day and considering that 3-4 other 'awesome' births took place when my wife was in labor, it seemed to be more of a routine awesome occurance as opposed to a miracle.

Pogo said...

"more of a routine awesome occurance as opposed to a miracle."

And what would we be in awe for, or about?

To paraphrase Bill Cosby 'Why is their awe?'

Henry said...

There's awe to blow up basketballs!

Scott M said...

@Artirius

And that is perfectly fine. Miraculous on the other hand denotes some type of divine intervention, something that doesn't happen every day and considering that 3-4 other 'awesome' births took place when my wife was in labor, it seemed to be more of a routine awesome occurance as opposed to a miracle.

It really depends on the scope of your point of view, doesn't it? Even without delving into the depths of science-fiction and just concentrating on the known universe from a human perspective, any successful creation of a sentient being is anything but mundane. Think of the amount of space (not space like outer space, but volume) involved and the amount of sentients in it. Each and every sentient life that successfully navigates gestation and birth is an incredible event when viewed through that lens.

There's nothing mundane or routine about it. We only allow ourselves to believe it is so because, as humans, we are so easily numbed to repetition.

I thought it pleasantly curious on this last birth of our that the men and women that worked in the L&D ward thought all the babies were precious. And I mean emotionally precious to them. It was quite obvious.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My point is that birth is a natural cycle of life, nothing miraculous about it. Perhaps it has something to do with me being a non-religious person.


Well, of course birth is part of the natural cycle. I'm not an especially 'religious' person either. More agnostic than anything. I'm willing to accept that there may be God in the sense of a purpose to this whole thing called life that we are experiencing......or that their may not be God and we are a random arrangement of molecules with no purpose other than to recycle our substance.

There is no way to know either proposition for sure. Since I don't know and you don't know, it behoves us to not denigrate other's views. We will all find out one way or the other in the end. Surprise!

As to the miracle issue, I suppose it depends on whether the event is happening to you personally.

Awesome, fantastic and a whole lot of other superlatives can be used in place of the word "miracle" if you like and want to remove GOD or a purposeful creator from the equation.

But to compare the creation of a thinking, unique human being to taking a crap, burping or farting....is just a bit too cynical, even for me, and I'm pretty much a realist.

considering that 3-4 other 'awesome' births took place when my wife was in labor, it seemed to be more of a routine awesome occurance as opposed to a miracle.

Perhaps it is this entire natural cycle that we should find awesome. From beginning to end.

I feel sorry for you that you don't feel the awesomeness, the wonder or whatever you want to call it in conjuction with the birth of any child, not just your own.

Of course, MY personal natural cycle is much more awesomer that yours. Nyah nyah nyah. LOL

Skyler said...

When my daughter was born some nurse stopped by and gushed that how can anyone see such a birth and not believe?

Just a bit crankier than I should have been after watching thirty some hours of delivery I responded, how can anyone see the pain my wife just went through for a perfectly normal process and think that there is a god that would inflict it intentionally?

Joan said...

Skyler: funny thing about labor pain is that it's nearly instantaneously forgotten. It would have to be, otherwise we'd be a race of only children, and we would've died out long ago.

Some things are worth suffering for.

traditionalguy said...

Miracles are what they seem to be which is a supernatural intervention by a person, or they are a carefully set up temporary blindness in the attending medical personnel who are sure of themselves until the unexplainable recovery as if nothing was ever wrong happens. I still puzzel that one myself.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I responded, how can anyone see the pain my wife just went through for a perfectly normal process and think that there is a god that would inflict it intentionally?


Maybe the pain, or to be more precise, the awareness of the pain is a trade off for having the ability/gift/curse that humans have to BE aware.

Animals, of course, feel pain too: but how aware of, cognizant of and analytical are they of the pain? Comparing this pain to the severity of a previous painful experience. Who knows.

And as Joan says (and speaking for myself. I can't speak for your wife) the pain is forgotten and some things ARE worth suffering for.

Gifts that are free or things that are too easily given to us are not appreciated as much as those we have to work for, struggle for and even experience some pain to obtain.

This is why we conservatives decry the welfare state that the liberals want to foist upon us. When you give away freebies and entitlements with no responsibility or no expectation that there is any duty to pay for even a portion of the "gifts" people don't work, don't appreciate the work of others from whence their "gifts" come. You end up with a lazy, greedy, entitlement minded, gimme gimme gimme section of society that is a drag on the rest of society that does work and struggle.

edutcher said...

Typical garage, even in something good, all he wants to see is the bad. You have to feel sorry for somebody like that.

Meade said...

"Divine intervention?"

I doubt it.

Who says God even wants to be worshiped and prayed to? Maybe he finds it annoying of us to do that. Maybe he wishes we would all just grow up, learn to let go of our suffering and to be grateful for His creation and make the best of it all on our own. Could be He's become bored with this one and has already gone on to other projects.


Wrong on both premises. He watches out for His children, like any other Father. Do you really think we've survived this long by dumb luck?

Ann Althouse said...

"Yes, Ann, it is a miracle. You know that, you're a mom."

Well, what do you think of this: My mother always made a big point of letting me know that I was "born with a halo." That is, I had black hair with a ring of blond, like a halo. Then the hair fell out, the way it does on newborns, and it grew back in auburn. Now, do you think that meant anything? I was left to puzzle over that as a child.


Obviously, she did. She thought you were special enough to nurture all the gifts God gave you.

I know kids with real potential whose parents don't feel that way and it's a tragedy.

Anyone who thinks birth isn't a miracle should consider why one type of bodily fluid and one type of cell produces life and nothing else does.

Somewhat OT: My wife's passport photo came out with a ring of overexposure spots over her head due to the film. I laughed, "It's either horns or halos". She's loves retelling that story and has always gotten a laugh out of anyone who knows her.

Skyler said...

Dusty wrote And as Joan says (and speaking for myself. I can't speak for your wife) the pain is forgotten and some things ARE worth suffering for.

I never said it wasn't worth it or that it is a lingering memory.

It's still painful and if there were a god then it makes no sense to make childbirth painful. Pain is not a virtue.

vbspurs wrote: This also describes why atheists have never outnumbered believers in the history of the world. Not even close.

I didn't realize that truth was subject to a vote.

Pogo said...

"Pain is not a virtue."

It's a signifier of reality and free choice, however, from which virtue may arise.

Smilin' Jack said...

"Pain is not a virtue."

It's a signifier of reality and free choice, however, from which virtue may arise.


So true! And in this story there may be something even more virtuous than mere pain. Several minutes of oxygen deprivation suggests that both mother and child may now suffer from life-long irreversible brain damage.

Praise the Lord!

Ann Althouse said...

Pogo said: "I am more curmudgeonly than most, but the inability to accept miracles seems a life diminished. For some, all the living world expresses its merely animal nature, and nothing is or can be miraculous. For some, it is arrogance or pride, rejecting the need for miracles. For some, it comes from their view of God, who would not need to be involved with petty details. For some, it is a problem of definitions. A miracle should be unassailably arising from God. This of course requires an event that is in effect supernatural. I count myself with those that find miracles in small things such as newborn babies, beautiful art arising from flawed humans, coordinated economies produced by millions of selfish individual pursuits, or the minor intrusive thought telling you to reed a certain book that contains insights you needed that very moment. I prefer to leave myself open to the idea that the human idea of what God is or is not, or what He can or cannot or should not do, cannot and does not constrain Him."

Again, I point out that I said "divine intervention." This excludes the idea that the world itself is a miracle and the issue of whether God created the world. I think it is more impressive if God created the world as a whole in the form that it takes and in which we can act than to think it depends on his periodic interventions.

If interventions are part of the scheme, why this intervention and not something else? If this was a divine intervention, we should think less about how great it is that the mother and baby came to life than about the idea of putting them to death only to bring them back. What was that about? To scare the bejesus out of -- or the Jesus into -- the poor husband? Why do that to one guy? Just to build up his "works in mysterious ways" reputation?

I'm just not impressed by that stunt or by most of the other miracles people get excited about. An across the board policy against miracles is more impressive for any number of reasons. To me, life is more "diminished" (to use Pogo's word) by thinking God drops by to save an occasional person he let get sick or to cast a ghostly image somewhere and so forth than to make an entire world that operates according to a set of rules and that depends on human beings to act for themselves.

Theo Boehm said...

C'est une coïncidence.

prairie wind said...

Hold on:
The baby boy, who was delivered by Cesarean section, "was basically limp, with a very slow heart rate," Martin said.

The baby was born with a heartbeat. The only reason he is described as "stillborn" is to make the story better.

That said, any birth is a miracle, and to pair it with the unexpected recovery of his mother makes it something extra wonderful.

prairie wind said...

Miracles are interesting. What used to be a miracle is now explained by science. Perhaps Lazarus was only in a coma, for a poor example. Science explains more and more of the unexplainable. And yet...and yet. There are still many scientifically unexplainable events that are called miracles. Some day, science will be able to explain them. And yet...there will continue to be other unexplainable events and they will be called miracles. Life is cool that way.

Smilin' Jack said...

I think it is more impressive if God created the world as a whole in the form that it takes and in which we can act than to think it depends on his periodic interventions.

Your theology is incoherent. If God created the world as a whole He created it in time as well as space...everything that is, was and shall be. What difference is there if He placed all the dominoes before pushing the first one, or if He places each one just before it falls?

Pogo said...

"If interventions are part of the scheme, why this intervention and not something else?"

But why not this?
It seems sufficient to me, and probably was for the family.
I don't expect God to lift buildings in the air or make Bush fluent.


"...the idea of putting them to death only to bring them back. What was that about?"
Or perhaps it is more mysterious than you can conceive, that life operates according to the rules of physics, and that means lives begin and end. But then something truly mysterious happens, a mother and child die together, as they often have in history, but suddenly they both return.

The ambiguity, the impenetrable why? persists.

To forbid God such an interaction in the world is an attempt to control Him with our personal rules. To say he is just like a kid with a magnifying glass burning ants and then saving them is similarly just attempt an at ruling God, by defining the action to only mean that.

Perhaps instead a miracle is the novel, unfamiliar, or awe-some occurrence which makes us aware of the hand of God. (I am here, waiting for you.)

Rabbi Dessler (emphasis mine): "The perception of causality is also necessary so that we may discern the hand of God behind the causes ...we may discern, but we are not compelled to discern."

We are free to choose to discern or not. Viewing the odd and wonderful events as either nothing or only a stunt puts an unwarranted limits on God, it seems to me.
It could mean something else entirely, couldn't it?
Something beyond the grasp.

Skyler said...

Your theology is incoherent.

As opposed to . . . ?

Yeah, the whole idea that a god needed to create a son and then slaughter him gruesomely is so coherent. Seriously, it takes some gumption to assert that a religion that believes in something precisely because there is no tangible proof is more coherent than others.

edutcher said...

Ann, anyone who is in love as much as you are knows there is more out there than just us mortals.

I disagree that it diminishes life to say God may spare some. Dorcas was raised from the dead because she was a nurse, a story The Blonde (nurse of 40+ years) tells at the drop of a stethoscope. Just because we don't see the chain of events that might be changed doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Pogo said...

Skyler, that's like saying Moby Dick is about some guy's bad day fishing.

Skyler said...

Skyler, that's like saying Moby Dick is about some guy's bad day fishing.

No, that's "Old Man and the Sea." Oh, were that Moby Dick were one tenth as substantive and enjoyable as that! What a miserable, bad example of 19th century sentimental, verbose, overly allegorical piece of tripe!

Pogo said...

Ann, it is also possible that God has the wherewithal to completely individualize messages.

My simple mind may respond to saccharine miracles, while yours, more complex and refined, does not.

That whisper may come in the form of art or argument, rather than bumpkins giving birth.

Michael Hasenstab said...

To me, life is more "diminished" (to use Pogo's word) by thinking God drops by to save an occasional person he let get sick or to cast a ghostly image somewhere and so forth than to make an entire world that operates according to a set of rules and that depends on human beings to act for themselves.

It wasn't about the mother and the baby. It was God quietly clearing His throat for the rest of us to hear. It was the Godly "ahem" that says "I am here" or perhaps just "I am."

And it was heard, understood by those who wish to understand, denied by those who deny and debated by those who aren't convinced.

Your mileage may vary.

Joe said...

Based on the pro-divine intervention posts, God is a real asshole.

miller said...

Joe, how so? Or is this just your statement?

Joe said...

God decides to save this person, but not this one, not based on merit or faith or anything but just because. God saves this baby, but not that little boy or girl being slowly tortured to death by a child molester. That's the very definition of asshole.

Skyler said...

I read a short story in high school that is one of my favorites and I wish I knew who wrote it.

It's about a doll house occupied by fairies and they pay rent to the man that owns the doll house in their only currency, luck. He kept the doll house in good repair and they would ensure that he would find a $100 bill when walking down the street or chance upon a situation that caused him to get promoted at work.

But the man had to sell the house for whatever reason to another man that didn't keep the house up. As it became a seedy home, the fairies moved out and some low class fairies moved in. They paid the rent in luck, but their luck was of a different sort. That is, the man would be walking down the street and a piano would fall from a 10 story building and would land two feet from him. He was "lucky" that it didn't hit him. It's clear from the story that the lazy fairies caused bad things to happen so that they could claim credit for their landlord not suffering from them.

I've found this to be a most interesting story during my life and I think about it a lot, like now when Miller here asks why someone would say that this type of interventionist god would be a real jerk.

If a god is all powerful and intervening, why would it allow such misery to befall nice people only to "miraculously" save them from the worst result? Wouldn't the better kind of intervention involve the bad thing not happening at all, or perhaps something good happening instead?

The way it is, the mother is "lucky" to probably only suffer mild brain damage. Some luck. Some intervention.

And I may be arrogant according to some people here, but I'm not the one who claims to explain what happened. It's the theists who believe in miracles that believe they know how this happened. That would seem to be the more arrogant philosophy to me.

Joe M. said...

Notably missing from that poll is a "God knows" option. That would of course be the correct answer. If there is a theistic God (roughly, the maximally great/good being and the Creator), then it would be prideful and altogether vain for we his creatures to presume to know his mind or understand his action unless he chose to tell us, i.e., barring revelation accompanied by signs/miracles.

Of course, a "God knows" answer wouldn't satisfy the utter materialist* (*I object to the label "atheist" because it is usually inaccurate or reductive. Those whom we generally call atheists are in fact materialists--a pagan is just as much an atheist as a materialist is), but for all who are not fully committed to a materialist hypothesis (i.e., anybody who is sane enough to recognize that it is in fact a hypothesis, for the arrogance of the materialist is the same as that of the zealot: a claim to certain knowledge of divine matters) such an answer will do.

SukieTawdry said...

To David Brooks and everyone who agrees with him: We're not the ones who think government should be the answer to all questions. It's government that apparently thinks it is, or should be, the end all be all to all.

I'm guessing the federal government could become pretty damned proficient/efficient in executing it's Constitutionally prescribed duties. But instead it's got to inject itself into seemingly every aspect of human endeavor (how many laws and regulations are there now on US books? I don't remember the number, but I do remember that it's horrifyingly high). He who would be Jack of all trades will be master of none is an axiom that can be applied to government as well.

And, yes, we are so screwed. This situation begs for profiling, but political correctness will never allow it. A good start IMO would be to simply let air travelers know that if any of the following apply, they will be subjected to increased scrutiny: One-way ticket purchase; paying with cash; no checked luggage; named on the terrorist watch list (personally, I would deny anybody whose name is on that list entry into the US); traveling from and/or passport issued by a country known to be a center of terrorist training/activity.

Nobody expects perfection, but we do have a right to competence. At the very least.