Saturday, January 22, 2011

Medical Science vs. Medical Miracles

By Randall Fitzgerald / Skepticism Examiner

When mainstream Western physicians try to explain medical ‘miracles’ that come cloaked in religious symbolism, or that were inspired by rituals of superstition, the self-described atheists among them sometimes find themselves challenged by a personal crisis of faith in their own ultra-rationalist belief system.

British physician Richard Westcott confessed to confronting this dilemma in an article for the British Medical Journal in 2002, headlined “Can miracles happen?” in which he related the story of an astonishing recovery by one of his patients who had been diagnosed with an incurable type of cancer.

This patient, who Dr. Westcott identified only by the first name of Jim, had worked as a submarine engineer and as a consequence, had come into contact with asbestos commonly used in pipes. He developed a swollen right breast and several biopsies established a firm tissue diagnosis of mesothelioma, which contact with asbestos is known to cause.

The tumor had grown quickly until it was working its way through Jim’s chest wall. Such malignant tumors were invariably fatal. “Radiotherapy hardly checked its progress,” reported Dr. Westcott, “and Jim was deteriorating badly.”


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