Fatima: Did 70,000 people witness a miracle?


by Ivan Seeking
Tags: fatima, miracle, people, witness
OSalcido
OSalcido is offline
#19
May12-07, 03:10 PM
P: 69
Quote Quote by Frankenkitty View Post
Even if the miracle of the sun could be attributable to mass hysteria, how would that explain the suddenly dry clothes, after the downpour.

It would be so much simpler to just attribute it to the status of urban legend along with dragons and unicorns.
the clouds parted, the sun shined, the clothes dried. you've never seen this?
Mk
Mk is offline
#20
May13-07, 04:47 PM
P: 2,057
Quote Quote by Frankenkitty View Post
Even if the miracle of the sun could be attributable to mass hysteria, how would that explain the suddenly dry clothes, after the downpour..
I would stick that to post hoc ergo propter hoc, but what about the rest! Are we allergic to saying this could have happened?
Tosh
Tosh is offline
#21
Jun2-07, 05:53 AM
P: 40
I would probably look in to the affect it still has on the people. If they seem to be self-policing unusually well on the basis of the Sun incidence proving to them their was an ultimate being out there; then they probably saw it. It would also be important to look into the propaganda techniques used after the occasion to embed the concept.

Why is Mary called Fatima in this region? Is that right?

It seems strange as Fatima is an Arabic name, and it is the name of the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, the final messenger in Islam - after Jesus, Noah, Moses, and Abraham etc.
Moonbear
Moonbear is offline
#22
Jun2-07, 10:41 AM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Moonbear's Avatar
P: 12,257
While 30 km sounds like a large distance, it really isn't. Are there any atmospheric conditions that could account for a distortion of the way the sun appeared? Since a storm had just passed, that would seem like the most plausible explanation for so many seeing the same thing, but only within a limited area. It would suggest it's not an astronomical phenomenon, but more a local atmsopheric, weather-related phenomenon, perhaps even due to rapid evaporation of the recently fallen rain when the hot sun reappeared creating a fairly local distortion of the view of the sun. I would doubt the idea of a magic trick. If only a crowd surrounding a particular building saw it, then I could give some possible consideration to that suggestion, but it would be incredibly difficult to create an illusion visible over 30 km with the technology available at the time and not have someone see "behind the scenes" from some angle. Thus, I'd be inclined to think it's something higher in the atmosphere sufficient to distort the view of the sun over a limited range. If it were the sun itself, you'd expect everyone experiencing daylight hours at that time would have seen it.

Unfortunately, the photo posted earlier (I assume there was a photo in that link) no longer exists on that page, so I can't see what that shows, if anything.

It isn't inconceivable that a rare event viewed by a population that is highly religious and limited in their knowledge of any natural explanation for the event could be easily convinced it was of supernatural origin. Plenty of things that have perfectly reasonable, natural explanations have been attributed to supernatural forces throughout history. For example, we now know that one can observe a "plague of locusts" pretty much every time there is sufficient rain in the desert for the eggs latent in the ground to hatch. It's not a hard stretch of the imagination to see why a society with less understanding of locust life cycles would interpret that as a supernatural event, when millions of locusts suddenly emerge from the ground en masse.

Tosh, in answer to your brief question, as far as I know, no, they do not call Mary by the name Fatima in that region. The name of the town is Fatima, hence the term "Our Lady of Fatima," which refers to their belief in her appearance there.
DM
DM is offline
#23
Jun19-07, 07:17 AM
P: 352
Quote Quote by Moonbear View Post
It isn't inconceivable that a rare event viewed by a population that is highly religious and limited in their knowledge of any natural explanation for the event could be easily convinced it was of supernatural origin.
How do you know the population was "highly religious" at that time? The article clearly states there were many people whom where not religious at all.

Quote Quote by Moonbear View Post
Plenty of things that have perfectly reasonable, natural explanations have been attributed to supernatural forces throughout history. For example, we now know that one can observe a "plague of locusts" pretty much every time there is sufficient rain in the desert for the eggs latent in the ground to hatch.
This example you give to discredit the events reported in Fatima is extremely unfair. Perhaps you'd like to explain how the phenomena was anticipated in the first place. Not only did it occur at the precise date and location, initially announced three months earlier by "The Lady of Fatima", but also at the precise time. That's what I struggle with, and I can tell you that I'm not a religious man, at all.
SF
#24
Jun19-07, 07:39 AM
P: n/a
A good case is made here:
http://web.archive.org/web/200602141...s/fatima3.html

What�s important here is the fact that not everybody saw this so-called miracle. As I just noted, more than half of the witnesses present during the event never saw anything unusual at all. Of those who did, there are discrepancies among the reports and the details often vary. Some individuals saw the sun sway from side to side in the sky much like a falling leaf in the wind while others claimed to have watched it spin violently in circles. Still others saw "a sun casting rainbow-colored light over everything, a 'luminous globe,' a 'night-time star' and a 'rain of flowers'", as one source describes it. Some reported seeing the sun change colors, giving off red, then yellow, then purple light while others saw the sky change from gray to a vivid blue. In the notes section of Borderlands, author Mike Dash quotes from a book called The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary, which highlights this problem, "Nothing about Fatima has turned out to be in the least bit simple or straightforward...I have never seen such a collection of contradictory accounts in any of the research I have done in the past 10 years."
If you have ever looked directly into a bright light, perhaps having been caught looking into the high-beams of an on-coming car, then you know an after-image remains "burned" onto your retinas for a short period of time. During that time, the light obscures your visual field and "jumps" around to wherever you happen to move your eyes. The act of darting your eyes around would make the light appear to be dancing back and forth. This sort of thing, to a lesser extent, has happened to me before, and the image of the light even changed a few colors before it faded away.

Just such a thing seemed to have happened when five to six thousand pilgrims flocked to a mountaintop shrine in Denver in the expectation of a sun miracle. The Rocky Mountain Skeptics reported that, "One of the most significant physical results of the event of December eighth was retinal burning caused by staring directly at the sun. We had talked with people who said the sun was "dancing" and that it changed color. We had suspected that this could be caused by their looking directly at the sun and receiving temporary, and possibly permanent, damage to their retinas." Sure enough, that's what happened.

Another similar event happened in Conyers, Georgia in 1990. A woman named Nancy Fowler claimed to have begun experiencing visions of the Virgin in the early 1980s, and by 1990 she had amassed a large number of followers. During one visitation, her pilgrims which had gathered on her 34-acre site claimed to experience sun miracles with the usual descriptions. Paranormal investigator Becky Long visited the site and determined that most people were claiming that the sun was either pulsating or dividing into multiple lights.

Fortunately, members of the group Georgia Skeptics were on site and had brought with them a telescope with solar filters. People who wanted to get a close-up view of the "miracles" they were seeing flocked to the telescope. Long reported, "I estimate that well over two hundred people viewed the sun through one of our solar filters, and without exception they saw nothing unusual when looking through the mylar." Contrary to what some believers would like to believe, such events do happen as a consequence of staring directly up at the sun.

This could certainly explain some of the reports of dancing suns. Of course, I don't personally recommend that you go outside and attempt to look directly into the sun. However, this doesn't leave me completely satisfied. I find it much more likely that this phenomenon, like many others, can be adequately explained if we delve a bit into the mysterious world of psychology.
http://www.answers.com/topic/the-miracle-of-the-sun

Controversies of Recent Development

In 1992, the Documentae da Critica de Fatima was published, containing documents whose authenticity cannot be traced and accounts which appear to dramatically contradict the well-known accounts published closer to the actual events.
jonegil
#25
Jun19-07, 07:50 AM
P: n/a
Please believe me...i'm Portuguese, this history is just non-sensical and tedious
DM
DM is offline
#26
Jun19-07, 08:07 AM
P: 352
Quote Quote by jonegil View Post
Please believe me...i'm Portuguese, this history is just non-sensical and tedious
Perhaps you'd like to elaborate on the fact that because you're Portuguese, I should start believing this event is all nonsense and "tedious" and substantiate your biased idea that it's just plain history.
baywax
baywax is offline
#27
Jun19-07, 01:48 PM
PF Gold
baywax's Avatar
P: 2,215
Quote Quote by Gib Z View Post
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Miracle_of_the_Sun

Look at the Critical Evaluation of the event.
I saw Orson Wells' face in an orange once. No body else could see it. I don't have the evidence since it shrivelled up (looks like Winston Churchill now) and any photo could have been photoshopped.

As far as Fatima goes, if the event can be replicated the cause may be understood.
Ivan Seeking
Ivan Seeking is offline
#28
Jun19-07, 01:57 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Ivan Seeking's Avatar
P: 12,492
If the event could be duplicated there wouldn't be a mystery.

You need to spend less time with oranges.
baywax
baywax is offline
#29
Jun19-07, 10:24 PM
PF Gold
baywax's Avatar
P: 2,215
Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
You need to spend less time with oranges.
Despite their acrid personalities, they are an electrifying group of individuals!
BasketDaN
BasketDaN is offline
#30
Feb24-10, 12:23 PM
P: 96
[edit by Ivan] ...erroneously supposing that science supercedes reason. Indeed it is the other way around; the scientific method, though wonderful, is only one expression of valid reason. Just because the scientific method cannot explain something does not mean that reason also cannot.

Your prejudice against the miraculous is entirely unjustified. You only label those things you don't WANT to be true as hallucinations. You would of course never dare label as a hallucination those observations made by scientists to form the foundation of those physical laws in which you put all of your faith and hope.
russ_watters
russ_watters is online now
#31
Feb24-10, 01:04 PM
Mentor
P: 21,994
It isn't a matter of "want". The scientific method is a way to examine the world and scientists use it bacause it works. No other method (such as religion) has proven to be capable of duplicating that success.
zomgwtf
zomgwtf is offline
#32
Feb24-10, 05:42 PM
P: 501
Quote Quote by BasketDaN View Post
[insult deleted by Ivan]... erroneously supposing that science supercedes reason. Indeed it is the other way around; the scientific method, though wonderful, is only one expression of valid reason. Just because the scientific method cannot explain something does not mean that reason also cannot.

Your prejudice against the miraculous is entirely unjustified. You only label those things you don't WANT to be true as hallucinations. You would of course never dare label as a hallucination those observations made by scientists to form the foundation of those physical laws in which you put all of your faith and hope.
Who thinks that science supercedes reason???
You are assuming that the scientific method 'cannot explain things'... not a very good assumption... Doesn't hold water in my opinion AT ALL... Maybe WE can't explain things because we don't have data or can not collect data to USE science but that is far from meaning 'science cannot explain it'.
Prejudice against the miraculous is not entirely unjustified. The fact of the matter is that people don't have to believe in something without proof. And the burden of supplying the proof is on those that BELIEVE. I have never seen a miracle or been shown that miracles do occur other than thru hearsay or 'take my word for it' that's falling way short of making me think they happen.
Another assumption: that people claim all miracles are just 'hallucinations'. What in the world makes you assume that?
Another assumption: that people would never claim a scientist is hallucinating something. What in the world makes you think that?
Another assumption: that scientists put faith and hope into physical laws. Far from true, many scientists accept that physical laws may at some point be shown to be untrue. They just haven't yet.

I guess I kind of DO hope that the physical laws don't 'change' however, it might mean disastrous things for us humans.
Yanick
Yanick is offline
#33
Mar6-10, 04:54 PM
P: 337
Our perceptions are colored by our biases. Any scientist or even half curious undergrad understands that the world as we experience it is not the 'full story,' for lack of a better word. The world is in constant chaos, things are a zooming and zapping and crashing constantly. Our senses do sense this but by the time it reaches our awareness most of the 'fluff' has been filtered out and a nice organized and orderly picture is put together in our brains for us to be able to function. Fairly random vibrations in the air are combined in our brains to give us a beautiful melody, light waves bouncing, reflecting, refracting etc are combined in our brain into the Mona Lisa. Our brains are constantly turning all this chaos into order so that we can actually be functioning organisms.

So with that said, I think this video can shed some light on how established biases can make us perceive some strange things. The whole video is about 13-14 minutes long and is really good but if you are strapped for time, just go to ~8:50 and watch from there. To someone who may not understand neuroscience it would seem like some sort of magic or brainwashing but in reality it is just someone who gives your brain a bit of help in creating order from chaos. Watch the video and you'll know what I'm talking about.

http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_she...ge_things.html
pallidin
pallidin is offline
#34
Mar8-10, 12:14 AM
P: 2,292
Yes, if part of a religious community, it would seem "normal" for those not experiencing anything to claim that they have... in an secret emotional hope that they will also receive a similar miracle by outwardly agreeing to an experience that they did not witness or a part of.
bassplayer142
bassplayer142 is offline
#35
Mar10-10, 12:09 AM
P: 422
Interesting story. Not that I believe this, but has anyone thought of the influence of some kind of airborn drug that caused a mixture of suggestion and hallucination. I doubt it, but it is worth thinking about.
baywax
baywax is offline
#36
Mar12-10, 10:03 PM
PF Gold
baywax's Avatar
P: 2,215
Quote Quote by bassplayer142 View Post
Interesting story. Not that I believe this, but has anyone thought of the influence of some kind of airborn drug that caused a mixture of suggestion and hallucination. I doubt it, but it is worth thinking about.
Could be... remember that Hieronymus Bosch and his entire village were under the spell of a lysergic acid (LSD) trip because of the rust growing on their rye crops. In fact the spores from the rust could have infiltrated everyone's blood stream even if they didn't eat the bread.

Here's a detail of a painting that is thought to be influenced by the rust (LSD) by Bosch.



Register to reply

Related Discussions
VOTE PF Photo Contest - People, People Who Need People General Discussion 15
Would you be a good witness General Discussion 15
Roswell: The most significant witness General Discussion 18
Witness backs Kerry's story Current Events 31