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When Is A Miracle Not One

It's a Miracle! Is it? How and who decides?
Miracles are troublesome little concepts.
A label oft rolled out as evidence of the mysticism implied by some inexplicable happenstance or other.
It's bloody dilemma that's what it really is...

The human race has, for the largest part of our history, been unbelievably brilliant when it comes to finding the most stupid explanations for what is later discovered to be some totally explicable shit. Quite often all it takes is someone who isn't an uneducated idiot to come along and point out the obvious but by then the glorious human network of spooky-groupies, Team Henny-Penny, and they who are just a bit thick, will have already started a rumour that quickly becomes ‘witnessed fact’ and the effect of the expert's words is like unnoticed flotsam on a tidal wave of whispers; a lot like the effect a four line apology on page 12 has on the future fortunes of those falsely accused!

So, what can be done to eliminate this terrifying Tsunami of misinformation, spread by those of fear-mongering persuasion? Well, I may have hit on a way to think about miracles, at least, that kind of takes the paranormal wind out of their superstitious sails, get this.

Keys, or, to be more exact, misplaced keys.

We have all experienced this when looking for our keys; how they are always in the last place we look. This seemingly inexplicable happenstance is usually accompanied by that particular feeling of karmic disgruntlement; a fuzzy back of the brain accusation aimed at the universe, luck, spirits, or sprites for making you overlook them, or not helping you look in the right place first. And, hopefully, we all recognise that the keys are ALWAYS to be found in the last place we look because after that place, we stop looking; we need look no further. We've found the keys, they were always there, we just happened to look in a number of other places fist. The very act of 'finding' signifies and label's the location of their discovery 'the last place I looked'.
Further, does it not also add weight to the superstitious feeling that some unseen gremlin is hiding our keys in the very last place we'd think of, when our statistical experience is subconsciously telling us "We also 'seem' to find our keys in the first place we look, less often than expected"? But isn't this subconscious conclusion based wholly in fuzzy statistical analysis of poorly remembered details? I mean, it's only after you discover that your keys are not in the first place you'd reach for them that you consider them lost and start looking for them. They have never been lost after any time when they were in the first place you looked!

Now, let’s transpose that thinking into the murky illogical realm of miracles.

Oxford Dictionaries definition:
Miracle:   noun.   an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.
So, a miracle is generally held to be an event which has taken place that is considered to be naturally impossible and may only be explained by way of the paranormal/supernatural; its mere existence seems so extra to the ordinary that it REQUIRES an explanation which is based purely in superstition.

However, in the same way as the keys are always in the last place we look, once a miracle exists/happens it may no longer be considered impossible. It's existence in the natural world distinguishes it as 'possible' and it cannot, legitimately, be described as 'miraculous'; the physical existence of a 'miracle', takes the 'miracle' out of the magical & mystical kingdoms of the strange & impossible and into the more comprehensible spectrum of probabilities. While the circumstances by which the event came about may be considered currently inexplicable, the moment a thing exists, it has physical properties, it is a material object, conforming to all the known laws of physics and steps into the natural realm of real possibilities.

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains,  however improbable, must be the truth.”
  Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Homes )
If I were writing a dictionary I feel I'd define Miracle as
an extraordinary and welcome event that is not currently explicable by natural or scientific laws, as far as the witness is aware, and is therefore attributed superstitiously, to a divine agency.
So, we cannot legitimately say, "This IS a miracle" but one can legitimately offer hope filled phrases like "Imagine if there was an XYZ! Now, THAT would be a miracle!" Or "It would be a miracle if an XYZ appeared!" Or "We're going to need a miracle to get out of this situation!" These are legitimised by the usage of the word miracle. Here, it does not necessarily imply magical intervention; in these phrases miracle may be said to be used as shorthand for...
"Taking into account as many parameters and variables as I can detect, my current assessment of the situation is, it looks highly probable that we are going to need something extra to the tools and facilities we have, in order to achieve an outcome other than failure.
Furthermore, given the aforementioned current assessment of our circumstances, it seems that the options available for gaining that extra something are extremely limited and we have no option but to accept that gaining that extra something is extremely improbable; indeed I suspect that a hugely improbable intervention by an external rescue force would be required to avoid said failure! That these are our last moments of life is highly probable."
In a danger-of-death situation we can see how that kind of rational delivery of the physical factors of the dire circumstances facing the group would send various group members into howling, fear-fuelled hysteria. Not helpful or conducive to inspiring escape-plan thinking. So much better to say to them "It looks like we're screwed; now's the time to chat up the pilot of whichever death escape-pod your parents assigned to you” (Commonly known as prayer), to keep them from driving you nuts in your last moments.
Whereas here the usage of 'miracle' is legitimate to transmit, in a very short phrase, news of dire circumstances and simultaneously offer hope, however false, it does not in any way imply that the eventual actual outcome of any event came about via magical intervention or origin.

As a final thought, a quick note to the multitude, those oh so many believers in death escape-pods (souls)
If you accept this explanation of the marvellous, magical, miracles of Ye Olde Earth, please be aware it may seriously damage your ability to find the keys to whatever your brand of post death scenario label's its "Pearly Gates".
Don't panic, that's natural.
Fear not my superstitious friends, if you find that you truly do need those very particularly keys...
Is it not known far and wide that you'll surely find them in the last place you look?


Littlewood's Law
"an individual can expect to experience "miracles" at the rate of about one per month" Wikipedia
Law of truly large numbers
"with a sample size large enough, any outrageous thing is likely to happen" Wikipedia


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Crispy
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