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Hagiometry, or the quantification of saints

Just how miraculous is miraculous?
  (+20, -3)(+20, -3)
(+20, -3)
  [vote for,

First let's accept as given that a miracle is defined as a physical act that can be explained only by divine intervention. Now flip this definition around to its converse: a miracle is an act that occurs without scientific explanation. But what if we could assign a probability number to each miracle, taking into account the real possibility that a given miracle occurred completely within the bounds of science and not divine intervention?

For example, let's say St. Bubba raised someone from the dead in year 1001 after the stiff had been lying sick for a week and only deemed dead for about a day. Given that medical science sucked back then, and that near-dead folks can seem quite dead to the unaided eye, we can only give this miracle a 2% chance of being valid. On the other hand, if the stiff had been ripped apart by beasts & then buried for a year, we'd have to give St. Bubba 98% credit for this miracle. I mean, be fair.

So we continue in this manner to quantify the quality and likelihood of miracles and thus come up with scores for the saints. Then we print up some game cards! My St. Bernard can whup your St. Charles any day! Woo hoo!

luxlucet, Jan 12 2005

The remains http://www.thesuper...pe=00&topic_id=2594
There were pieces everywhere, for miles. [blissmiss, Jan 13 2005]

Info to follow http://www.norwichb...WS01/410130302/1002
[blissmiss, Jan 13 2005]

"Miracle on Probability Street" http://www.sciam.co...414B7F0000&colID=13
295 miracles a day in JesUSistan! [ConsulFlaminicus, Jan 13 2005]

Reminds me of... Holiness_20Unit_20of_20Measurement
shameless saint promotion... [RayfordSteele, Jan 14 2005]

The miracle of the floating fibreglass http://donjim.blogs...donjim_archive.html
I used this elsewhere already, but it's just too appropriate [moomintroll, Jan 14 2005]


       Why the name "hagiometry?"
bristolz, Jan 12 2005

       The supporters of the new SI 'Theresa' units will never convince the imperialist users of the 'Loyola' units until the pope goes Metric, of course.
yamahito, Jan 12 2005

       [bristolz], hagiography = the biography of a saint. So hagio- = saint. Sometimes a really fawning biography is called a hagiography.
robinism, Jan 12 2005

       I'm guessing "hagiometry" derives from the word "hagiography", ususally defined as "writings relating to the worship of the saints."   

       Replace "ography" = writings with "ometry" = measurement (or quantification as luxlucet puts it), and behold: hagiometry = holy measurement, batman!   

       + for attempting the quantification of the religious.
csea, Jan 12 2005

       Ah. I did not know that. Thank you, [robinism], [csea].
bristolz, Jan 13 2005

       These machines would be a cinch to calibrate - just superglue the dial to 'zero - fraudulent claims detected'.
ConsulFlaminicus, Jan 13 2005

       Carl Sagan once pointed out, in 'Demon Haunted World,' that the number of acknowledged "miracles" among cancer patients who visit Lourdes (ie. those who become totally cured) is far less then the expected statistical rate of total remission among those people. The only logical conclusion is that Lourdes makes your cancer worse.   

       In view of this, might there be room on this scale for a negative rating?
Detly, Jan 13 2005

       I thought this was about "Hags" getting up everyday. Was gonna sorta admit to being one, and hope to get news coverage.   

       I will post a link to the most recent "miracle" In CT. I have seen it, and another baker and I have actually picked up pieces of shattered stain glass windows.
blissmiss, Jan 13 2005

       What caused the explosion? I find it a little odd that an article that long has no mention of such a thing.
Detly, Jan 13 2005

       Good stuff! I did not see the game cards coming.
bungston, Jan 13 2005

       Aha. Here it is:   

       "The cause of the Sept. 10 explosion is under investigation by the state fire marshal's office in conjunction with state police, according to state police spokesman Trooper William Tate.   

       Investigators suspect the blast was caused by propane gas."   

       From the second link.
Detly, Jan 13 2005

       They have never actually decided the cause of the explosion, but we have been within 2 feet of the statue. There was not even a hint of ash, two days after the fire.   

       Other houses near the area suffered broken window panes, etc. The statue, not even a sniffle. The shards of broken windows were bitty, and surrounded it.   

       I am not a member of any organized religion. I just felt amazed.
blissmiss, Jan 13 2005

       I profess to being utterly unamazed that a high density object like a statue was undamaged in such an explosion.
bristolz, Jan 13 2005

       What are churches made of? I really dunno. Not been in one for over 10 years. ( The statue was about, maybe 30 feet from the church.)   

       No ash though?
blissmiss, Jan 13 2005

       I looked at the photo and read the article and assumed it was a wood and glass structure.   

       My opinion is changed a little now knowing that the statue was outside and not inside. That does make it somewhat more surprising to me.
bristolz, Jan 13 2005

       I mean, two bakers looking at the same thing, one through tears, and one with a total sense of objectivety. ( I need to carry more Kleenex in his car).   

       Both of us were taken :)
blissmiss, Jan 13 2005

       Not only the undamaged statue makes this quite propitious: The explosion left the "Ukranian [sic] Catholic Church" built in 1955 “in a pile of ruble [sic]”.
FarmerJohn, Jan 13 2005

       I think a survey of church explosions/fires/lightning strikes, etc. is needed, with analysis of the proportion of these events in which statues have remained undamaged...

I like the idea of the playing cards - sort of Top Trumps Saints.
hippo, Jan 13 2005

       Great idea, Luxlucet. How about extending the theme a bit? UFOs come to mind. Or the various purported causes of cancer (power lines, cell phones...).
Not sure where this would go next...
millionthMonkeyTyping, Jan 13 2005

       //Other houses near the area suffered broken window panes, etc. The statue, not even a sniffle.//   

       Looks online at the size of the crater in Yukatan.   

       Recalls Grandma's stories about the bombings of the train evacuating from the Ukraine to Uzbekistan, when Dad was 10 years old. Also the stories about the neighbors that didn't go.   

       Miracles, shmiracles. :)
theircompetitor, Jan 13 2005

       The rating would be very difficult, as the more "miraculous" it is (high rating), the more likely that someone lied or exaggerated eons ago, and thus the rating would be lower.   

       For example, that "raise from the dead, when body was ripped apart by beasts & then buried for a year", could be simply a metaphor for a women in the middle ages who foresook her family, and for a very busy year became a prostitute, only to be brought "back to life" by a "saint" who got her to return to the family.   

       [+] for the novelty though.
sophocles, Jan 13 2005

       //I like the idea of the playing cards - sort of Top Trumps Saints.//
Ladies and gentlemen!. We Have a WINNER!.
Cardinal Virtues (although strictly there are only 4!)
Days in Wilderness/Solitude.
Fear of the Lord.
gnomethang, Jan 13 2005

       The thing I like best about blissmiss' article is that the church has been getting $25 and $15 dollar bills from the faithful. Perhaps these should be run through the 'fake or miraculous'-o- meter as well...
Trout, Jan 13 2005

       So would that Yu-Gi-Oh guy be a priest?
bungston, Jan 13 2005

       //Perhaps these should be run through the 'fake or miraculous'-o- meter as well...//   

       This from a fish.   

       I don't believe in miracles, I believe in miraculous events happening. The guy who survived the Tsunami for 14 days, now that was miraculous.
blissmiss, Jan 14 2005

       It pays to live in JesUSistan.   

       Forget Top Trumps. We could have our own Yu-gi-oh dueling deck.
RayfordSteele, Jan 14 2005

       So... can sainthood be achieved with an awful lot of dumb miracles (viz. floating fibreglass jesus link)? Igor! Order a warehousefull of fibreglass Jesus statues and hire a boat! Sainthood here I come...
moomintroll, Jan 14 2005

       I love the trading cards idea. Even better is the notion of a Saint called Bubba. +
energy guy, Jan 14 2005


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