Friday, April 02, 2010

ABC 20-20 "Help from Beyond": examining medical miracles, faith, and statistics

ABC 20-20 covered medical miracles this evening, or perhaps they are spiritual miracles brought on by prayer. The report was called “Help from Beyond.”

The most interesting segment was the leadoff, with a 22 year old track star (Chase Kear) and pole vaulter who recovers from an accident where he lands on his head, with his skull split in two. His parishioners in a small SE Kansas town pray to a father and chaplain Emil Kapaun who had died in the Korean War but who has been considered for sainthood.

The news story is by Elizabeth Vargas and Donna Hunter, “Miracle of Faith: The Work of a Saint? Believers see intercession of late priest in Chase Kear’s recovery from pole-vaulting injury”. The link is here.

In the television interview, Kear's appearance gave not a hint of his healed injury and surgery and titantium plate in his skull.

The story covered a man in Massachusetts who started walking again, and a woman in France with Parkinson’s.

The Church regards a woman cured of cancer in Hawaii as a miracle.

The program then covered the “Devil’s Advocate” or skeptics process within the Vatican. It questioned why some people are saved by apparent miracles are other seemingly deserving people are not. Miracles are not “fair”. And miracles are not magic.

It covered a saint who had gone to the island of Molokai, Hawaii, that housed lepers in the 19th Century.

At the end of the show they discussed “the Law of Large Numbers.”

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