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There's Gold In Them Thar Hairs
April 4, 2010 8:58 PM   Subscribe


 
Cher really is God.
posted by sallybrown at 9:11 PM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Same thing happens to me every time I visit a strip club. That shit is impossible to get out of the sheets.
posted by signalnine at 9:25 PM on April 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am always glad when the tinfoil brigade actually links to the science they claim to represent.

Its a really interesting SEM picture. The caption in type, presumably written by the researcher who took the image and ran the (NMR?), says that its a chlorinated plastic with an extremely thin metallic coating. The substance is not really that unknown, it has the size, shape, composition, solubility, coating and color of regular costume glitter.

If any of you know of this happening anywhere near western Washington MeMail me, I've got access to an SEM and an O-Chem lab.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:26 PM on April 4, 2010 [16 favorites]


Yeah, that shit gets everywhere, and let me tell you conductive dust does ugly things to the insides of a PC.

Our five year old is absolutely forbidden to take her glitter and glue pictures into the computer room.
posted by flabdablet at 9:47 PM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who knew God had been working miracles in my local craft stores for decades?
posted by gracedissolved at 10:28 PM on April 4, 2010


And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
posted by felix betachat at 10:34 PM on April 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yes, because logically the way an omnipotent being would choose to make it's presence known to mere mortals would obviously have to be through glitter. This way no one could possibly escape the meaning of the message.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:39 PM on April 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


This stuff makes me sick. Gah. As if simple brainwashing wasn't enough, they had to rig a bucket in the ceilings to rain down trinkets.
posted by blahblah at 10:45 PM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't wait for God to discover the Be-Dazzler!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:47 PM on April 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yet another pile of LOLxtians stuff is tired, weak and classless.
posted by ambient2 at 11:02 PM on April 4, 2010


These days, if you don't LOLxtian, you're GRARxtian, what with all the pedorape and a bunch of looney religious-rooted teabagging and Texas rewriting facts and history.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:11 PM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and felt, and was glittering with gold, semi-precious beads, and gem-colored rhinestones. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with pipe cleaners and white glue. This title was written on her forehead:
MICHAEL'S ARTS & CRAFTS
30% OFF ALL SCRAPBOOKING SUPPLIES
1070 HILLTOP DRIVE
REDDING, CA 96003-3810

posted by benzenedream at 11:12 PM on April 4, 2010 [23 favorites]


Well, I, for one, have always thought that glitter was DIVINE!
posted by sexyrobot at 11:19 PM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've always had to wonder at people who believed in this and those lens-flare angels
posted by rebent at 11:29 PM on April 4, 2010


The substance is not really that unknown, it has the size, shape, composition, solubility, coating and color of regular costume glitter.

Because God lives within his means in terms of budget. He's a frugal kind of guy.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:49 PM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I won't lie, if I were a god (and I aspire to be one), I'd give my followers golden showers too.
posted by planet at 12:11 AM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yet another pile of LOLxtians stuff is tired, weak and classless.

Couple of things.

First: the last thing I want to do when I see crap like this is LOL. I want to weep.

Second: the fakes and charlatans perpetrating it need to sit down with Matthew 21:12 and take a good, hard look at themselves.
posted by flabdablet at 12:17 AM on April 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


Second: the fakes and charlatans perpetrating it need to sit down with Matthew 21:12 and take a good, hard look at themselves.

Hey mefite...I just read that verse because of your insightful comment. I'm not a bible scholar or even reader, but doesn't Matthew 21:12 have more to do with not having a Starbucks attached to the local megachurch?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:38 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm atheist, so take anything I say about Matthew 21:12 with a grain of salt (or maybe craft store glitter) but it seems to me that if Himself had found a bunch of midway con artists in there with the financial instrument vendors and dove sales personnel they would all have experienced a thorough casting out.

At least, that's the vibe I get from going on to 21:13 through 21:16.

The plot wanders a bit by 21:19.
posted by flabdablet at 1:19 AM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've got access to an SEM and an O-Chem lab.

Next meetup is at Blasdelb's place!
posted by ryanrs at 1:55 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, you mean a seemingly miraculous occurrence is actually manufactured and faked by human agency in order to prey upon the gullible and the weak? I'm shocked, I am.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:34 AM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


More like SUNSHINExtian
posted by DU at 3:04 AM on April 5, 2010


It's must just be one of those curious quirks of fate that ectoplasmShekinah Glory bears such an uncanny resemblance to cheeseclothglitter.
posted by adamt at 3:30 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was in a meeting once years ago with a visiting evangelist who midway thru meeting was covered in this stuff.

Sorry, it looked fake to me. Not to mention I can find NO biblical warrant for it, and seems....designed...to pander to people who "need a sign." Mind you I have seen and experienced real miracles, and generally God is extremely lowkey with them. He's not a cosmic showoff.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:41 AM on April 5, 2010


I won't lie, if I were a god (and I aspire to be one)

Don't you know anything? If someone asks if you're a God, you say YES. Well, I suppose no one asked, but still.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:19 AM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm atheist, so take anything I say about Matthew 21:12 with a grain of salt (or maybe craft store glitter) but it seems to me that if Himself had found a bunch of midway con artists in there with the financial instrument vendors and dove sales personnel they would all have experienced a thorough casting out.

Man, this shit has so little to do with the Jesus of Matthew, Mark and Luke that it's laughable. This is the Jesus of Tammy, Jimmy and Benny. A tool used to separate gullible people from their money. If the Jesus of the Gospels were around today, he'd be these fuckers' worst enemy. He'd be right there with James Randi exposing them for frauds.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:21 AM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


(and then Jesus would be like "Alright Amazing Randi!" and Randi would be like "Alright Jesus!", and then they'd high five and simultaneously say "YEEEEAH!")
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:23 AM on April 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


Huh, with that logic, burlesque dancers are the Emissary of God.

hmm...
posted by divabat at 5:27 AM on April 5, 2010


Mind you I have seen and experienced real miracles

No. No, you haven't. You've experienced things you call miracles, maybe even what you think were miracles. That doesn't make them miracles. Sorry.
posted by grubi at 5:28 AM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm kind of way over the LOLXTIANS aspects of pointing out this sort of rank lunacy, but what is it about nearly any writing coming out of the charismatic evangelical segment that seems to do violence to the conventions of English prosody and diction?
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 5:31 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


He told Max that the particles were not gold, or silver, or any known element on earth! The scientist said they were a “new, created substance.”

Element 117: un-reconstituted, 99 44/100% pure fabulotine. The most fabulous material ever known.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:33 AM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


From the Charisma Magazine article: This "REVIVAL" features people barking like dogs, oinking like pigs, jerking like jerks,

"Jerking like jerks"? Obnoxious guys spicing up some chicken? Male dorks standing in a circle pulling on each other's wangs? Assholes going into spasms?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:47 AM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Insanity is too mild a word to describe people who believe this crap.
posted by wadefranklin at 5:54 AM on April 5, 2010


It's a furry convention/Jerky Boys mash-up.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:55 AM on April 5, 2010


I'm kind of way over the LOLXTIANS aspects of pointing out this sort of rank lunacy . . .

Just to be clear, I didn't post this as LOLXTIANS. I posted it because it's fraud masquerading a miracle, and I thought it was amazing what a lazy con it is. And amazing anyone buys it, and kind of sad, because I know why they buy it. No man this isn't lol as much as wow.
posted by nola at 5:56 AM on April 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


God is really into Glam right now.
posted by The Whelk at 6:14 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


When Moses softened Pharaoh's heart
That was a miracle
When God made the waters of the Red Sea part
That was a miracle, too


I thought this thread needed some showtunes.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:15 AM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't stand hearing about these sorts of people. It makes me wonder if this woman sincerely believed the stuff she was saying, "Took on Chinese features..." or did she know she was a chronic liar. Regardless, her life and presence was nothing but ultimately damaging to Christianity. What of the people who genuinely believed this woman and then later turned out to discover their holy experience came from aisle 4?
posted by Atreides at 6:18 AM on April 5, 2010


Don't give to the poor, its a waste of money? These people are not Christian. They preach the exact opposite of Jesus' message. Ugh. Seriously. Ugh.
posted by sandraregina at 6:36 AM on April 5, 2010


I can't wait for God to discover the Be-Dazzler! Vajazzler!
posted by shakespeherian at 7:27 AM on April 5, 2010


I thought this thread needed some showtunes.

Dayenu.
posted by zarq at 7:44 AM on April 5, 2010


Yes, because logically the way an omnipotent being would choose to make it's presence known to mere mortals would obviously have to be through glitter.

FINALLY MY LIFE MAKES SENSE!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:53 AM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


ThePinkSupersavior
posted by The Whelk at 7:58 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


It surprises me (a little) that anyone would want to call these people Christian. This isn't LOLxtian, it's LOL crazy fools.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:08 AM on April 5, 2010


Wait, does this explain why Edward "DAZZLER" Cullen sparkles in the sun?
posted by sallybrown at 8:16 AM on April 5, 2010


I thought this thread needed some showtunes.

You know, no matter how far we get from the release of "Fiddler on the Roof", I just can't stop loving it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:41 AM on April 5, 2010


I have been singing various songs from Fiddler for, like, the last four months, and my wife finally told me that she's never seen it (!!!). Looks like I know how three hours of tonight will go.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:44 AM on April 5, 2010


If you can, get the original Broadway cast recording of the soundtrack- there's more songs than the movie, and the singing is (imo) better, especially comparing Zero Mostel to Topol.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:48 AM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


The various waves of charismatic/pentacostal miracles are a topic of fascination and dread for me. The miraculous gold dust was one of many apocryphal stories while I was still in the church, and by the time people I knew claimed to experience it, I had quietly eased out of the community, sorting through my own confusion about it.

What I did see, first hand, were the ripple effects from the infamous "Toronto Blessing" and the "Kansas City Prophets." One of the most vivid memories I have of the era is from the 1996 Passion For Jesus conference.

At one of the church services that followed the conference, a few thousand people squeezed into a converted soccer stadium to hear a sermon by one of the speakers who'd stayed late. I was troubled by my own questions but earnest and hopeful that I could make some sense out of my own struggles with faith and a sense of God's distance. The speaker began talking, but very quickly it became clear that there was no much content to the sermon -- the focus was on the "Move of God's Spirit" that the speaker felt was in the room. Slowly, around the room, people were chuckling here and there. Some started laughing. The speaker told us that was God moving. In the third row, I was grappling with the recent death of a friend with AIDS, and was only really beginning to scratch the surface or some of the questions that raised.

The laughter spread. By the time five or ten minutes had passed, hundreds of people in the audience were laughing -- many literally falling out of their folding chairs. The speaker was shouting over the din, announcing that this was God's joy, proof of his love. I rested my head in my hands and slowly, without much thought, began to sob: it was one of the most intensely, crushingly isolating experiences of my life. I'm pretty sure that no one was able to hear over the crowd.

Hours later, after the service had broken up, a friend asked me about my experiences at "ground zero" near the front row. I tried to explain, but at the time I wasn't quite sure what had happened. They assured me that tears were "another one of the ways God moves sometimes." I nodded; I supposed at the time that explanation was as good as any.
posted by verb at 8:52 AM on April 5, 2010 [22 favorites]


Oh, so it's like how John Edwards claims that when he's wrong about somebody's dead relatives, he's actually right and it's the grieving who are mistaken.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:56 AM on April 5, 2010


If you can, get the original Broadway cast recording of the soundtrack- there's more songs than the movie, and the singing is (imo) better, especially comparing Zero Mostel to Topol.

Oh I agree, hands-down. The movie is still spectacular, and like all show tunes, the songs are better if you know the story.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:06 AM on April 5, 2010


To continue the FotR derail, check out Knitting on the Roof. Highlights include The Residents' version of Matchmaker and Negativland doing Tevye's Dream.
posted by benzenedream at 10:31 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


And the thing is, those fuckers will never be prosecuted for pulling off a really obvious fraud. They'll never do time for bilking gullible people out of their money.

Crime doesn't pay but religion sure does.
posted by happyroach at 11:03 AM on April 5, 2010


No. No, you haven't. You've experienced things you call miracles, maybe even what you think were miracles. That doesn't make them miracles. Sorry.
posted by grubi at 5:28 AM on April 5 [2 favorites +] [!


Okay, so you know what my personal experiences have been? Do tell.

I think it's pretty miraculous that I haven't needed meds for over three years, after having been released by my psychiatrist because he couldn't justify seeing me anymore BECAUSE MY BIPOLAR WAS GONE.

And that's just one experience. By the way, if you are in town, I can introduce you to a woman I know that came back from the dead. Doctor verified.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:09 AM on April 5, 2010


That's a heartbreaking story, verb, and brilliantly written.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:14 AM on April 5, 2010




I think it's pretty miraculous that I haven't needed meds for over three years
So your meds worked - congrats! I've never needed them. Wouldn't that be a greater miracle?

I can introduce you to a woman I know that came back from the dead. Doctor verified.
Work in a hospital - it happens a hundred times a day.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:07 PM on April 5, 2010


So your meds worked - congrats! I've never needed them. Wouldn't that be a greater miracle?

There IS no "medical" cure for what I had. All modern medicine had to offer me was more drugs. If you read the literature-go ahead, Google is your friend-you will see that people who have what I have CAN"T go off their meds.

Unless they have a miracle.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:14 PM on April 5, 2010


But, this thread is not about my miracle. It's about the smarmy fake ones that are an embarrassment to my faith.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:15 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now might be a fantastic time for me to capitalize on my latest miracle; right now, in millions of homes all over the world, there exists the flotsom of the latest religious holiday, plastic Easter grass.

My miracle is this; from this point forward and going back in time as far as you can remember, this shit will replicate and never be able to be completely removed from a residence in which it has existed. You can burn the house to the ground, salt the earth and then dig a hundred feet into the earth, and you will find a single strand, mocking you for your doubt.

God is powerful, this is proof. Gimme some money.
posted by quin at 12:23 PM on April 5, 2010


quin, if we were talking GOLDEN grass, you might be in business. The regular green stuff never seems to garner any real attention unless the cat ate it and is now scraping it across the kitchen floor with its butt.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:32 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The particles are usually golden, but also come in several colors including silver, red, blue and green. They are similar in appearance to fine glitter, or glitter make-up."

Really similar, I'd wager.

Whenever I read about miracles, I get to wondering about the physics of it all. Most miracles of the physical variety violate the laws of thermodynamics in one way or another, and I inevitably conclude that to accept these miracles as truth is to reject modern physics. Oddly, religious scholars seem unconcerned about this.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:12 PM on April 5, 2010


I can introduce you to a woman I know that came back from the dead. Doctor verified.

I have, twice. Once at age 5 and again at 32.
posted by Tenuki at 1:17 PM on April 5, 2010


Whenever I read about miracles, I get to wondering about the physics of it all. Most miracles of the physical variety violate the laws of thermodynamics in one way or another, and I inevitably conclude that to accept these miracles as truth is to reject modern physics. Oddly, religious scholars seem unconcerned about this.

Well really I think you're just defining miracles, is all. If they obeyed the laws of physics, they wouldn't be miracles, but rather observable, testable processes.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:22 PM on April 5, 2010


Right, so I'm not going to discount personal experiences, or claim to personally know anything more about anything than anyone else.

Disclaimer over, imagine, if you will, this scenario:

There are questions that people want to know the answers to. Sometimes we aren't able to answer these question with knowledge, so we'll defer to others. Sometimes no one knows the answers. At this point we might just shrug and say, "I guess there is no answer". Someone might realize that with answers comes power and influence and come up with any answer. Some answer, even if false, can be more attractive that the unknown. (insert yahoo answers joke here)

How did humans come to be? Well, 2000 years ago, maybe this question was answered with "god did it". Now that we have a greater understanding of the world, evidence from fossils and genetics, we can say pretty confidently "evolution". But evolution is complex, builds on an understanding of other sciences, and may not intuitively seem correct.

We can see questions like these have an immediate, loud, definitive answer from religion. Later science has come to offer a more nuanced answer based on evidence.

How did the universe come to exist? MIRACLE! or maybe the big bang?

How did some glitter fall out of your hair? MIRACLE! You just put it there? Seriously, is anyone falling for this?

If there is evidence to base an answer on, those who refuse the evidence look foolish or have a reason to keep believing no other answer exists or is correct.

If there is no evidence to base an answer on, there are 2 responses you can have: "it's a miracle", or "I don't know."

I for one will answer "I don't know". To me, claiming a miracle, no matter how silly or serious, comes from a small list of explanations: unwillingness to claim lack of knowledge, vested interests in willful (vs reasoned) belief, or comfort in a current belief and an unwillingness to re-evaluate it.
posted by fontophilic at 1:55 PM on April 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


We can see questions like these have an immediate, loud, definitive answer from religion. Later science has come to offer a more nuanced answer based on evidence.

The religious outcome of the process by which science slowly takes over the epistemology is also known as the "God of the gaps". Two thousand years ago God was feeding thousands to satiety on a few loaves and fishes, turning water to wine, raising the dead (and from tombs, not resuscitating people whose hearts have stopped), and creating earthquakes and supernatural darkness. Today people call it a miracle when they get better and don't understand why, or when they look up in time to avoid rear-ending somebody.

My theory? God blew all his high-level spells back in the day and the DM won't let him rest and regain his high-level slots again.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:02 PM on April 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well really I think you're just defining miracles, is all. If they obeyed the laws of physics, they wouldn't be miracles, but rather observable, testable processes.

In her first and only casino gambling experience, my girlfriend transmuted $1 into $194 in a slot machine. I consider this to be a minor miracle, and yet it is totally consistent with the laws of nature as we know them. So I'm not saying that by definition all miracles are at odds with science.

But when your observation is "this water turned into wine", you're making a claim that at some time t0 this substance was water, and at a later time t1 it had become wine, without any tampering.

My point is this: What are the implications of that claim at an atomic level? Or at a very small time scale?

Did the water disappear, and then the wine appear? Was there an infinitesimal stretch of time during which nothing occupied that space? Or did God rearrange the molecular structure of the water into wine? If the latter, then either the water was wildly impure, or somehow atoms of elements like carbon suddenly appeared. Or maybe The Lord, in His divine wisdom, fused some H and O atoms - a reaction that would involve such large amounts of energy that any bystanders would have been blasted to kingdom come. So God must have sunken all of that energy somewhere, but where? Or if new atoms suddenly appeared amid the existing atoms, their presence surely would wreck havoc with the inter-atomic forces, again leading to weird and possibly dangerous phenomena that now need to be explained away.

And so on. The lower-level you think, the more outrageous the excuses you need in order to explain away inconvenient side-effects of the miracle.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 2:17 PM on April 5, 2010


I rested my head in my hands and slowly, without much thought, began to sob: it was one of the most intensely, crushingly isolating experiences of my life.

I know what you mean by "crushingly isolating" in this context. I can remember attending a mega-church when I was about 14 or 15 and feeling this way sunday after sunday. It felt like being Winston from 1984 to me at that time, and at that time I took alot of comfort from that book.
posted by nola at 2:34 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Blasdelb: the Dead Raising Team is associated with some of these kooks. Maybe you could contact them to try to get a sample of some glitter.
posted by puddleglum at 2:37 PM on April 5, 2010


And so on. The lower-level you think, the more outrageous the excuses you need in order to explain away inconvenient side-effects of the miracle.

Well sure, but the very idea is that God (or whomever), who depending on the theological framework for the miracle created the very fabric of the universe, is doing something that entirely goes outside the bounds of the laws of nature. I don't think side effects enter into it. If you're allowing God to intervene in reality, why are you disallowing the possibility that the water was instantaneously replaced with wine, wholesale?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:41 PM on April 5, 2010


Well sure, but the very idea is that God (or whomever), who depending on the theological framework for the miracle created the very fabric of the universe, is doing something that entirely goes outside the bounds of the laws of nature. I don't think side effects enter into it. If you're allowing God to intervene in reality, why are you disallowing the possibility that the water was instantaneously replaced with wine, wholesale?
That cuts to the heart of the matter. Once one accepts that there is an omnipotent Creator and Sustainer who exists outside of time and space, and created the very thing we call physical reality, it's silly to suggest what that God couldn't do, in terms of transmuting substances or rolling back time or what not. That is, after all, why they call it God mode.

The flip side is that the sorts of miracles seen today -- roughly, "A thing happened that I cannot explain" rarely convince those who do not already have an existing framework for interpreting the miraculous. Believers have a 'default entity' to credit when something good but inexplicable happens, but it's easy for them to forget that "Something Inexplicable, But Good Happened" does not inherently support the exclusive truth-claims of their faith.

The end result is that the miraculous -- at least, things called the miraculous -- become a way for believers to bolster up each others' failing faith, to cheer each other with the idea that God Is On Our Side, and to encourage those who aren't seeing anything miraculous no matter how hard they pray, hope, or beg. "Don't worry -- see this inexplicable thing? It is a miracle. God is at work. Hold on, and don't give up."

Whether that is inspiring or depressing depends entirely on your perspective.
posted by verb at 3:32 PM on April 5, 2010


If you're allowing God to intervene in reality, why are you disallowing the possibility that the water was instantaneously replaced with wine, wholesale?

My assertion is that whatever the mechanism of intervention, following the physical implications of a miraculous claim to their logical conclusions generally results in a contradiction.

Thus a claim like "this glitter literally appeared out of thin air" has a corollary claim that "physics is wrong".
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 3:48 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


verb, I agree. I'm just pushing back against the idea that an understanding of physics obviates the possibility of miracles, since, y'know, that's the point of the bloody things.

This is not an actual argument for the existence of miracles.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:48 PM on April 5, 2010


Miracles that appear to run contrary to the laws of physics don't necessarily invalidate those laws, since those laws are merely descriptions of the way causality unfolds if left to its own devices. If you postulate a miracle-producing entity capable of disrupting physical causality, it's quite reasonable that the actions of that entity would appear inconsistent with the laws of physics. That wouldn't make physics wrong, merely limited - it would apply to everything except miracles.

I think this idea is also the root of the disagreement betwen St Alia and others over what legitimately constitutes a miracle. From her point of view, a miracle is any event whose causal pathways are merely unknown. From mine, a miracle is any event that can be shown to be inconsistent with physics. Perhaps we could call her kind a u-miracle and mine an i-miracle to avoid pointless acrimony.

I note in passing that u-miracles are not evidence for an interventionist God, while i-miracles might be.
posted by flabdablet at 4:58 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Gods' fools are easy prey for shysters. Being fools, they'll never clue in.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:22 PM on April 5, 2010


puddleglum: "Blasdelb: the Dead Raising Team is associated with some of these kooks. Maybe you could contact them to try to get a sample of some glitter."

Thanks! I've just sent them this e-mail and I'm about to e-mail Dr. Andreas Kronenberg, the head of the Department of Geology and Geophysics referenced in this article to ask him about his experience



TheDeadRaisingTeam@gmail.com

The Dead Rising Team,

I am a researcher at The Evergreen State College nearby in Olympia WA and I have grown interested in the phenomena known as glory dust or gold dust. I noticed on your website a connection to Bethel Ministries where it came to the United States and I hoped that I might be able to study the miracle closer to home.

About ten years ago Max Greiner in Kerrville, Texas convinced researchers at Texas A&M to analyze the glory dust and I hope to do the same thing. I have access to a Scanning Electron Microscope which can take very close pictures of particles and an Organic Chemistry laboratory with which I can determine their physical properties.

I have always felt that by learning more about creation and the natural world we can learn more about our creator, and this is why I feel I have been called to science. If this is possible, I hope we might be able to think creatively about ways to obtain results that anyone could trust and each grow in our faith and understanding.

Sincerely,

Bob Blasdel
Undergraduate Researcher
The Evergreen State College
Olympia, WA
posted by Blasdelb at 7:38 PM on April 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


Miracles that appear to run contrary to the laws of physics don't necessarily invalidate those laws, since those laws are merely descriptions of the way causality unfolds if left to its own devices. If you postulate a miracle-producing entity capable of disrupting physical causality, it's quite reasonable that the actions of that entity would appear inconsistent with the laws of physics. That wouldn't make physics wrong, merely limited - it would apply to everything except miracles.

Thanks, this is what I was trying to say, only in English.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:28 PM on April 5, 2010


Also: just finished watching Fiddler. Goddam that's a movie.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:36 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


What did the Mrs think?
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:48 PM on April 5, 2010


She loved it. Not a dry eye in the house from approximately the wedding onward.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:50 PM on April 5, 2010


Blasdelb, that's brilliant. Do keep us posted if they reply.
posted by puddleglum at 10:25 PM on April 6, 2010


I've gotten a reply from Tyler, the founder of DRT (Bio on the right under The Team) and it turns out they are just 15 minutes away from me. He sounds excited about the idea and enthusiastic about the impact science can have on faith, for context he mentioned that had had recently watched and enjoyed the movie Expelled. He has not produced the miracle himself and will now pray for it, however he mentioned that the plan will likely be to find another preacher more able to make it happen.

I also found an interview of him and it sounds like, even though we are from completely different cultures, we have a lot in common. I would be really excited to hang out with him and hopefully both grow in faith and understanding. To be clear I do not believe in a God that breaks physical laws in order to accomplish anthropomorphic goals, and if there is an entity which could be accurately described as God, it seems to me like it would be better described through the physical laws of the universe and the patterns of nature than through a book. However, I every intention of being entirely honest with him and I am now drafting a response inviting him to my lab for lunch and clarifying as such in as non-threatening a way as I can.

Mods, would it be appropriate for me to update what happens with this on this thread?
posted by Blasdelb at 8:01 PM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


What about him liking "Expelled" makes you optimistic?
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:17 PM on April 7, 2010


Damn glitter! It's the herpes of fashion. Once it's on you, it just spreads to everyone you come in contact with.
posted by tomble at 9:29 PM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. You gonna take the opportunity to teach them grade-school scientific method?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:35 PM on April 7, 2010


Pope Guilty: "What about him liking "Expelled" makes you optimistic?"

I didn't expect him to be able to discern the real scientific community or dishonest video editing. I am optimistic because he sounds genuinely honest about what he knows and from his e-mail enthusiastic about, at least his understanding of, science.


five fresh fish: Wow. You gonna take the opportunity to teach them grade-school scientific method?

Particularly as a working scientist, the way most people are taught science in grade school is often wrong and not terribly convincing. I hope I can at least do better than that, I've got access to a lab which studies the planets most powerful and diverse engine of evolution, a microscope, and some amount of patience.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:17 PM on April 7, 2010


Props to you, Blasdelb. We need more non-snarky dialogue between believers and scientists; snark is easier than discussion because of the enormous amount of patience required to discuss basic principles of hypothesis testing and skeptical inquiry. Just be careful that you aren't misquoted, and the usual cautious scientific language is used as miracle "proof" (5% UNKNOWN?). Best of luck to you.

I've got access to a lab which studies the planets most powerful and diverse engine of evolution

I thought that was the awesome power of yeast genetics.
posted by benzenedream at 12:59 AM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Benzenedream,

You're absolutely right, I've actually been shocked by how hostile and snarky many of my colleagues have been about the idea, ie: how could I possibly expect to teach any of these idiots anything much less learn something?

"I thought that was the awesome power of yeast genetics."

Well so long as its a belt measuring contest... There are around (10^31) bacteriophage on the planet, between one and two orders of magnitude more abundant than bacteria (the next most abundant domain), but what is really amazing is that they have a half-life of around a day. That means that if you divide the number of phage by the number of seconds in two days you get a conservative estimate of 6 x (10^25) phage produced every second in order to continually replenish the planetary supply. Thus even if you say that only 1 phage in 1,000 is produced with a meaningful mutation, and only 1 in 10,000,000 of those is meaningfully beneficial and one in 1,000,000 of them is unique, you still have 6 x (10^9) uniquely improved phage per second! However this number only begins to describe the evolutionary mechanisms for natural selection to act on as we know phage genomes to be highly mosaic as, in the metaphor, they mix and match their tiles constantly and only the ones that work last more than two days, and there are phage which have lasted 2.6 billion years. I have nothing but respect for work with yeasts but there is no competition in raw adaptive capacity.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:24 PM on April 8, 2010


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