Akita and the Incorruptibles (if that were a comic book I’d read it)

Question from Jacob:
Hello. Recently I stopped believing to a small degree, probably class 4 or 5 on the Dawkins scale (ATA Note: this indicates neutrality tending towards disbelief), mainly from reading the Old Testament. None of the mainstream Christian arguments are really that great like morality and so forth. But there are 2, well I would not call them arguments, more like paranormal activity. They are incorruptible bodies and the statue of Akita. They are the 2 main things that are still part of my chains of religion. My question is how do you explain them or brush them off at least? I heard atheists had high levels of intelligence.

Answer by SmartLX:
I can save myself some work here because I wrote about the so-called incorruptibles for a similar site: Ask The Atheists. I was SmartLX on that one too, just scroll down a bit. Since I’ve become acquainted with the power of Google Images in the 8+ years that followed, I’ll simply add that the examples available to us today do not exactly look natural or as fresh as a daisy.

As for “Our Lady of Akita”, much is unexplained about the events that brought it to the world’s attention but the most damning factor is the Catholic Church’s own reluctance to hail it as a miracle. See the Wikipedia article: though the local Bishop endorsed it, the Archbishop of Tokyo dismissed it completely in 1990, and then-Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), who would have made the call at that level within the Church, made no call at all. If those with the most to gain from a miracle by the Virgin Mary won’t get behind it, what reason do you have? The Church all but abolished the office of “devil’s advocate” in 1983 so they don’t even actively try to debunk these things anymore, and they still didn’t give this one the rubber stamp.

20 thoughts on “Akita and the Incorruptibles (if that were a comic book I’d read it)”

  1. I have no comment on Akita and the rest, all I understood from the question and the answer above is that there are some physical, i.e., of alive matter, bodies, that after death did not corrupt, allegedly. This is, of course, scientifically, impossible and thus a trick and/or a lie, at least for me, and that is what matters for me, only.
    So, I am only writing here and now to write down the Dawkins’ scale, in case there are some newbies here, reading the question and the answer, that are not familiar with the Dawkins’ scale.
    I will first write down the scale.
    1. A believer, to 100% degree, sure of the existence of god.
    Note, I don’t think anybody, who would not agree to give their life in a lost bet about the existence of god, is on this position. They pretend or delude themselves, or both. I am not asking them to die now cos they believe they will live better than now after their death, all I am asking them if they would bet their lives that god exists. Only people who would bet their lives, like kamikaze, are on position 1.
    2. A believer not totally sure of god’s existence, but pretty sure there is god, and thus inclined to position 1.
    3. A believer who is not at all sure there is god, and is inclined to an agnostic position.
    4. Agnostic, who says ‘I have no idea if there is god or not’.
    5. An agnostic, who is not so much sure s/he has no idea about god’s existence, but is inclined to total position 6.
    6. An atheist, who would not bet her/his life that there is no god.
    7. An atheist, who is totally, 100%, sure there is no god, and maybe says, thou atheists are seldom so foolish to say so, that they would bet their lives that there is not god. I equally don’t think they are saying the truth, or they are deluding themselves. But, here, there are no people kamikaze-like, who would kill for the idea that there is no god.
    Now, Jacob says he is on position 4, and slightly inclined to atheism. But, position 4 is the exact middle of 1-7, thus this is pure agnosticism. So, either Jacob is a pure agnostic, and thus on 4, or if he feels a little inclined to atheism, then he is on position 5.

    Richard Dawkins and my humble self, are both at position 6, of course. I used to feel I give ‘god’ one promille of possibility it exists. But, as I grow older, I grow more and more sure there is nothing out there that is over the laws of nature. The problem is we don’t know all the laws of nature in existence out there.

    As for the atheists being smarter than theists, I believe that statistics prove so, cos most of the Nobel laureates in physics of the universe, theoretical physicists, who, btw, are the cleverest people on the earth, are atheists. Atheists are surely more educated than theists, statistically. Also, as much as one is intelligent and knowledgeable, that much the one is a democrat. In conclusion, atheists are generally more liberal, intelligent and knowledgeable than theists. But, both groups can be equally jerks or nice people. Character and temperament are different categories from religion, intelligence, knowledge and democratic vs conservative tendencies.

    1. Do you really want to know if God is, or are you hoping that He is not, because you don’t want to have to worry about being punished for doing what you know you shouldn’t, but you really prefer to do what you shouldn’t? Are you so dead certain that life accidentally became? Are you willing to accept, even though there is no evidence that life, especially higher forms of life, that life came about through a impossible randomized mixture of chemicals, that somehow were combined in just the right mixture, with just the right amount of energy, that happened to be immersed in the right biosphere, that would be protected for who knows how many years, from all the other hostile environmental poisons that would be all around that biosphere, and that somehow that biosphere floated, to this planet having just the right balance that that particular form of life would need to continue its stages of maturing, and now having the right everything that it would need not only to survive but flourish. Are you willing to just say no to the impossibility of it all, refusing to admit that it is more probable that God did it, especially since everything else seems so impossible?

      1. “biosphere floated, to this planet”

        Uh Gerald, what are you talking about? Your entire paragraph is full on erroneous nonsense, but that part is particularly disturbing…

  2. (Comment from Jakob, submitted via the question form)
    I read up a little about them, it would appear that there are cases of former and partial Incorruptibility, for example there was a guy (can’t remember his name) who covered up numerous child molestation scandals and was involved himself. well his tong and some of his organs remained… another case regarded a corpse being moved to a new location where it started to decompose. however Cardinal Schuster a fascist was also found Incorrupt. Why would the church Associate themselves with the likes of him? There are supposedly examples of ordinary people and of other religions mainly Buddhists. Still why do you think the majority of examples are Roman Catholic? As a sidenote this should be an entirely testable miracle yet I can’t really find much scientific info on them, so why don’t scientists seem to bother themselves with it, it is a big contradiction. If miracles and God are true than a lot of other things must be false.

    1. I cover some of these points in my earlier article, Jakob, just follow the link in the main piece.

      Incorruptibility has become something of a tradition in the Catholic Church, a well-known archetypical miracle that God likes to perform. People present incorruptible corpses because they know the Church will welcome them, and the Church approves because every supposed miracle gives just a little bit more reassurance to its adherents, who are bombarded with more types of challenge to their faith now than at any time in history. (Historically, the main challenge they received was, “Stop worshipping that god or we’ll kill you.” Now they have to contend with arguments.)

      The Church is not keen to present its specimens for analysis for two reasons: the very real risk of being discredited, and the fact that most of those who come to see these corpses aren’t looking for scientific proof anyway. An unproven miracle can be every bit as good as a proven miracle for the purpose of reinforcing belief.

      On the other side of things, scientists do not demand the corpses for analysis for a few reasons. Some are religious or otherwise have great respect for the Church and its works. Those who aren’t know that the Church won’t want, and is under no obligation, to hand over a perfectly good miracle exhibit to be physically violated and effectively ruined as an attraction. There’s also the idea that a news story about scientists besieging cathedrals for their saints will only fuel the present atmosphere of anti-science and anti-intellectualism. Finally, since there’s no good evidence for supernatural preservation in the first place, the existence of these relics is not currently a threat or challenge to the methodological naturalism of scientific pursuits.

    2. Please at least admit that not all people who call themselves Christians are Christians. Just like there are good and bad Lawyers, and good and bad politicians, good and bad parents, doesn’t mean that all Christians are bad. It makes more sense, if Evolution is correct, for everyone to be good. It causes less friction when we all treat each other with mutual respect. Why do people do bad? Because there is a war being waged inside each of us. One that tells us to be nice and one that says look out for number one. But too many times the latter wins out, and that is because we are ruled over by someone who has decided a long time ago to make us tear each other apart. To do what is wrong. To want what is wrong. And only if we align ourselves with God will we overcome those evil desires and seek to be blessings to one another instead of destroying each other. This is what God is teaching through His word. And this is unfortunately what many so called Christians have not learned to live by.

      1. No one said all Christians are bad. Even if atheism or another religion is correct, being wrong doesn’t mean being bad. But being bad doesn’t mean one isn’t Christian, because even by your own doctrines being a sinner is just part of being human. You can’t disavow Christians who don’t live up to your ideals – in fact I think you’re commanded not to, you have to go after the one lost sheep in a hundred and so on.

        As for the bit about evolution, selfishness can ensure survival and many of our instincts tend towards self-preservation because they’ve served our animal ancestors well. That’s why being altruistic isn’t easy: it can be hard to shake the feeling that you’ll need everything you have and shouldn’t stick your neck out. Fortunately, as human beings with independent wills we can choose to make that effort.

        1. No. No one is disavowed. But we do believe that making a mistake is one thing but continuing in that mistake is another. A Christian who has accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior is granted the power to live not having to give in to the power of temptation. And as we get to know Him more and more, we learn to love Him more and more, until one day we decide that we no longer need to doing the things that we know harms us and our fellow man. Thus we live as Christ would have us to live.
          And what you call something that Evolution has helped us to evolve into being able to do, such as being selfish, is something that no one needs to grow into. It is already part of our sinful nature. So, that is what we need to grow out of.

  3. Gerald, you have been asked repeatedly asked to increase your knowledge and understanding of the scientific theory of evolution so you can avoid making statements that have nothing to do with evolution. It appears those requests have once again been ignored, because now you are trying to claim that “good” would be an evolutionary trait. The problem with this is that “good” is not an empirical or objective concept. It is purely subjective, and not something that can evolve physically. “Good” is defined in innumerable ways by different people, societies, and cultures.

    While you obviously will continue to push your flavor of morality and religion at this website, please refrain from trying to make your baseless speculation more scientific through misuse of theories like evolution. You will be called out for it every time it happens…

      1. The part about doing good should be an evolutionary trait. As I already specifically explained in my previous post which you responded to by asking me to “point out” which of your points “have nothing to do with Evolution.”

        This is the second time in just this thread you’ve asked for information that was already given to you in my first response to you…

    1. And no, I am well aware of the fact, FACT, that good, and as a matter of fact that bad are not evolutionary. They are due to trusting or not trusting in God. Trust is something that one has to be able to witness and experience. And when faced with this evidence, must like those who decide to ignore the facts that everything was created by God, one must decide to accept this evidence or ignore it. Those Christians who have studied the Bible and seen the archeological evidence, those Christians, who have heard and witnessed the miracles performed, those Christians who have seen how the Bible prophecies have revealed the future even though told years before, have come to a conclusion that there is God and that He can be trusted.

      1. If you know that good and bad aren’t evolutionary, then why do you state in an earlier post that if evolution is correct then all people should be good? You’ve contradicted yourself.

        “Good” and “bad” are not due to “trust” or the lack of it. They exist solely in humans minds and are subjectively defined at the individual level. Even in your neighborhood there is no consensus of what is good or bad. It’s just a label humans invented to describe our feelings towards a particular idea or thing.

        There is no empirical data for miracles, god beings, or biblical prophecies. You even been asked, specifically, months ago to pick your favorite prophecy and see if it can be debunked. I do not recall you having done this yet. Perhaps you will entertain the idea of doing do here…

        1. You are stating a false assumption. Most people believe in a good and bad. Most believe that there is a right and wrong way to live. Now, depending upon the culture and circumstances, good and bad may be relative, but there is a good and bad. Neither is an evolutionary trait. One is because we have decided to live as God would have us live and the other is we prefer to do what we want to do. And mostly that is because we still feel that we can’t depend on anyone else but ourselves to provide for us. But for a Christian, who has witnessed the unselfish act of Christ death, we know that God has our best interest in mind and if we live as He has dictated, He will not disappoint us.

  4. Please inform me as to which part of my understanding of Evolution, leaves much to be desired, and I will try to enlighten you as to how I have come to my understanding of what you hold in question.

    1. Well, please point out just one point that is lacking, according to you, soundness, and I will give you ample factual, evidence.

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