Should Science Study Miracles?

Posted by The Miracles Store on

Browsing around the web, it's always interesting to look at the relationship (or perceived lack thereof) between science and spirituality. Today's blog post is inspired by the following paragraph from this article by David Carey Hart at The Boiled Frog Blog:
"People who believe in miracles are in short supply in scientific research. There is no reason for a research institution to demonstrate that they care about ideological diversity when such diversity does not, and cannot, exist because science is inherently secular as it should be.

"I don't want people who believe in miracles to have any part of, say, medical research. I want to consume therapies that are supported by evidence."
On one hand, the statements seem reasonable. When it comes to scientific research, it's imperative that it be as evidence-based as possible. Removing as much bias as possible from scientific research allows it to be a better reflection of reality.

Unfortunately, that's impossible. If for nothing else, due to The Observer Effect:

"In a study reported in the February 26 issue of Nature (Vol. 391, pp. 871-874), researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now conducted a highly controlled experiment demonstrating how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed.

"The experiment revealed that the greater the amount of "watching," the greater the observer's influence on what actually takes place."
In other words, just watching something actually changes it. Therefore, it is impossible for scientific studies to be completely unbiased. Even just the belief as to whether or not a particular study's hypothethesis is correct or incorrect can affect the outcome. (Then we also have the placebo effect, which is an entirely different discussion altogether)

Therefore, if we can't actually remove bias and belief from scientific studies, we should do the next best thing:

Just be aware of it. Document it. Study it. Allow it to inform us further. If we're really curious, even have people of all different beliefs conduct the exact same experiments and see where their results are different as well as similar.

Even the Catholic Church has people whose job it is to investigate, using as scientifically sound methods as possible, miracles. They have both skeptics and believers whose job it is to help the church determine whether or not a Saint truly did perform miracles – or if their followers and believers are just hopefully deluded.

in 2000, The Economist wrote an interesting article on this exact topic called "Miracles Under the Microscope." Their angle was to look at medical miracles. Specifically, they wanted to know where the line is drawn between seeming miracles based on advances in modern science, and the healings which are inexplicable by what we consider to be modern science. Their article closes with a very interesting statement:
"Regardless of the sophistication of the medicine that the Church brings to the study of miracles, they remain, in the final analysis, a spiritual rather than a scientific matter. There is enough clarity in the miraculous to satisfy believers – and enough obscurity to satisfy sceptics."

Still, there are scientists who believe in miracles...

People like Ruth M. Bancewicz, Dean Radin PhD from The Institute of Noetic Sciences, and Dr. Masaru Emoto offer us some curious possibilities into scientific metaphysical studies.

Emoto studied water crystals and determined that water which received positive intent / prayer / affirmation created crystals that were more organized and beautiful than those which received no intent or negative intent. In other words: prayer makes things prettier.

Both on his own, and piggy-backing off of Emoto's research, Radin has done many metaphysical studies. One of them even led to creating a brand new kind of chocolate – "Intentional Chocolate."

Their work is interesting in that it has attracted both believers and critics. Critics have pointed out both flaws in process as well as their seeming inability to have other peer-reviewed studies make it to the mainstream.

The believers do things like make mugs and shirts with inspirational messages on them. :)

In the future, we plan to have scientific studies conducted on our coffee cups. Do they –statistically speaking– have any impact (positive or negative) on the liquids placed inside?

When that time comes, we will hire multiple independent research teams to conduct the research. We want the believers to study this. We want the skeptics to study this. We want the truth.

This is something even Hart agrees with when he closes his blog post with this quote:

"Critical thinking and curiosity are essential to scientific research and there are no substitutes."
When it comes to scientific research, there truly are no substitutes. Yet still, we can't ignore the reality that belief and observation do affect the outcome of experiments.

The interesting thing to remember (in this context) is that when we bring the observer effect into view...

No matter what we believe – we're usually going to be right.

And while we here at The Miracles Store do absolutely believe that miracles and metaphysical happenings should be studied (by people of all ranges of beliefs), all of that discussion is still a distraction from the most important reason why the store exists:

Studies after studies, in peer-reviewed and well-respected scientific journals, have shown that positive thinking does create positive results in our lives. It shows that our minds and bodies are impacted by the messages we receive from our environment.

The words, sounds, the news and media, the teachers and authority figures, our parents – it all contributes to the messages we take in about ourselves and what we perceive about the world. They even affect our physical health and wellness (or lack thereof).

So what our products are really here to do...

Is to help you focus on the good things in life. We're here to help you remember that you can take positive actions and see positive results in your life.

Most importantly, our products exist to support you in feeling great and spreading positivity in the world.

We believe that's something that almost everybody can agree is a good thing – regardless of whether or not they believe in miracles. :)