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Author Topic:   Underpass stains, burnt toast & the pervasiveness of the Cult of the Virgin Mary
DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 3178 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 1 of 36 (495578)
01-23-2009 1:02 PM


"You have to be kidding me!?!" was the first thought after perusing the news online and running across this article (which is on just about every News outlet across the world including CNN, CBS and Fox News):Faithful See Image Of Virgin Mary
A steady stream of the faithful and the curious, many carrying flowers and candles, have flocked to an expressway underpass for a view of a yellow and white stain on a concrete wall that some believe is an image of the Virgin Mary.
Police have patrolled the emergency turnoff area under the Kennedy Expressway since Monday as hundreds of people have walked down to see the image and the growing memorial of flowers and candles that surround it.
Beside the image is an artist's rendering of the Virgin Mary embracing Pope John Paul II in a pose some see echoed in the stain.
"We believe it's a miracle," said Elbia Tello, 42. "We have faith, and we can see her face."
Tuesday morning, women knelt with rosary beads behind a police barricade while men in work shirts stood solemnly before the image, praying. A police officer kept the crowd of about three dozen from getting too close to the traffic but didn't stop them gathering around the stain.
The stain is likely the result of salt run-off, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The agency does not plan to scrub it off the wall.
"We're treating this just like we treat any type of roadside memorial," said IDOT spokesman Mike Claffey. "We have no plans to clean this site."
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago had not received any requests to authenticate the image as of Monday, spokesman Jim Dwyer said.
"These things don't happen every day," Dwyer said. "Sometimes people ask us to look into it. Most of the time they don't. (The meaning) depends on the individual who sees it. To them, it's real. To them, it reaffirms their faith."
But onlooker Victor Robles, 36, said he was skeptical about the stain's Virgin Mary resemblance.
"I see just a concrete wall and an image that could happen anywhere," Robles said. "If that image helps more people feel closer to God than maybe that is a good sign."
Worldwide, people have been drawn to images believed to resemble the Virgin Mary seen on windows, fence posts and walls.
Among the best-known in the United States was an image seen in office windows in Clearwater, Fla. Within weeks, a half million people had been to the site.
Glass experts believe the image was created by a chemical reaction and corrosion of the metallic elements in the glass coating, but they could not explain why it took the shape it did. The windows were broken last year.
I understand not every religious person believes these things (i.e. images of Mary or Jesus burnt onto toast are some type of divine sign from God) but why does humanity (religious or otherwise) even entertain stupid, ignorant, pseudoscientific bullshit phenomena as such? In addition, why does the media feel like this crap is worthy of being on the headline news?
To me it is a waste of time, money and effort that could go to solving important and meaningful issues such as feeding the poor, conducting scientific and medical research to help humanity, etc. Instead, we are spending money i.e. police protection, etc to protect a piece of concrete just because it is stained and happens to have a resemblance to who knows what! This is pure emotional greed bordering on psychosis.
Ok will get off my soapbox now .
Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.
Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan

Replies to this message:
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 Message 6 by Rahvin, posted 01-23-2009 5:18 PM DevilsAdvocate has not replied
 Message 7 by lyx2no, posted 01-23-2009 6:02 PM DevilsAdvocate has replied
 Message 10 by Coragyps, posted 01-23-2009 7:22 PM DevilsAdvocate has not replied
 Message 25 by Huntard, posted 01-24-2009 9:52 AM DevilsAdvocate has replied

  
AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 36 (495586)
01-23-2009 1:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by DevilsAdvocate
01-23-2009 1:02 PM


Lousy Title
The title isn't very helpful.
In addition, where would you like this put?

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Admin
Director
Posts: 13081
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 3 of 36 (495597)
01-23-2009 3:01 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by DevilsAdvocate
01-23-2009 1:02 PM


Another possibility is to introduce this as an example of religious faith in the Why so friggin' confident? thread (which is also poorly titled).

--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 3178 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 4 of 36 (495601)
01-23-2009 3:14 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminNosy
01-23-2009 1:55 PM


Underpass stains, burnt toast & the pervasiveness of the Cult of the Virgin Mary
How about this title? "Underpass stains, burnt toast & the pervasiveness of the Cult of the Virgin Mary" and probably put it under the "Faith and Belief" forum?
Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan

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AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 5 of 36 (495609)
01-23-2009 4:10 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 6 of 36 (495620)
01-23-2009 5:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by DevilsAdvocate
01-23-2009 1:02 PM


Can you say "false pattern recognition?"
This is absolutely no different than children who see bunnies and horses in passing clouds. Every time you say "that looks a little like x" you're comparing what you see to another object...and we often identify things falsely this way. In this case, a religious belief is coupled to false pattern recognition to make "miracles" out of burnt toast or some other completely mundane object.

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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 4793 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 7 of 36 (495630)
01-23-2009 6:02 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by DevilsAdvocate
01-23-2009 1:02 PM


Morning sickness
Do you not recognize the significance of this particular image? Why do you think she's puking all over her sandals?

Genesis 2
17 But of the ponderosa pine, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou shinniest thereof thou shalt sorely learn of thy nakedness.
18 And we all live happily ever after.

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Modulous
Member
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 8 of 36 (495637)
01-23-2009 6:16 PM


Pareidolia
As in para (resembling) eidelon (a spirit double/shade/apparition). There are lots of examples, with amusing blog entries at bad astronomy.

  
DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 3178 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 9 of 36 (495642)
01-23-2009 6:44 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by lyx2no
01-23-2009 6:02 PM


Re: Morning sickness
Do you not recognize the significance of this particular image? Why do you think she's puking all over her sandals
I could say it looks like something else but would probably get banned from this site (sorry my dirty mind at work) .
It seems that there a lot of male virgins looking at this who do not see the obvious! (That is all I will say, I will let you use your imaginations)
I am goint hell for that one, huh.
Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan

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 Message 7 by lyx2no, posted 01-23-2009 6:02 PM lyx2no has replied

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Coragyps
Member (Idle past 811 days)
Posts: 5553
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 10 of 36 (495646)
01-23-2009 7:22 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by DevilsAdvocate
01-23-2009 1:02 PM


Did you notice that that's from 2005? It was discussed on the web back then, too.

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RAZD
Member (Idle past 1482 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 11 of 36 (495652)
01-23-2009 7:33 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Rahvin
01-23-2009 5:18 PM


Just call like you see it
Hey Rahvin
Can you say "false pattern recognition?"
Yeah, they're wrong - I was going to point out it looks like a giant (god sized?) vagina, but I see DevilsAdvocate 'beat' me to it ...
... no different than children who see bunnies and horses in passing clouds.
It's also like the three different images you can see in the moon.

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 4793 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 12 of 36 (495653)
01-23-2009 7:38 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by DevilsAdvocate
01-23-2009 6:44 PM


Re: Morning sickness
I will let you use your imaginations
I wouldn't know.

Genesis 2
17 But of the ponderosa pine, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou shinniest thereof thou shalt sorely learn of thy nakedness.
18 And we all live happily ever after.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by DevilsAdvocate, posted 01-23-2009 6:44 PM DevilsAdvocate has not replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4046
Joined: 07-01-2005
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 13 of 36 (495655)
01-23-2009 7:46 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by RAZD
01-23-2009 7:33 PM


Re: Just call like you see it
Exactly.
The ability helps us a great deal (pattern recognition is what allows us to read, to perceive images on a screen, is instrumental in problem solving, etc), but all it takes is a slightly overactive imagination and a lapse in skepticism to make us see, as Phat says in someone's signature, "monsters where others see only windmills."
The specific cases of seeing Jesus/Mary in various and sundry accidents of chance is a bit more interesting because it's so specific and widespread. Once the suggestion is planted that "this looks like the Virgin!" similarly-minded people will also see the false pattern, and the herd validates each others' beliefs that the Rorschach image is in fact miraculous. This is then taken as "objective evidence" that the divine exists.
It's also interesting to note that simple skepticism and reasonable application of Occam's Razor is all that's required to prevent this phenomenon. People jump to believing in the supernatural because they want the supernatural to exist, even if only subconsciously in some cases.

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RAZD
Member (Idle past 1482 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 14 of 36 (495674)
01-23-2009 9:43 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Rahvin
01-23-2009 7:46 PM


Re: Just call like you see it
Indeed.
The ability helps us a great deal (pattern recognition is what allows us to read, to perceive images on a screen, is instrumental in problem solving, etc), but all it takes is a slightly overactive imagination and a lapse in skepticism to make us see, as Phat says in someone's signature, "monsters where others see only windmills."
There is a rock down the shore from my parents that neighborhood folklore says looks like (a) a lion head, (b) a crouching frog or (c) with two other rocks, a sea turtle poking head and flippers out of the water. And yes, one can pick out these patterns in this one rock.
Man in the Moon - Wikipedia
quote:
The Man in the Moon is an example of pareidolia. Other cultures perceive the silhouette of a woman, a hare/rabbit, a frog, a moose, a buffalo, or a dragon (with its head and mouth to the right and body and wings to the left) in the full moon. Alternatively, the vague shape of the overall dark and light regions resemble a Yin Yang symbol, on it side and backwards.
In Chinese culture, the rabbit in the moon (a companion of Chang'e) is pounding medicine. Similarly, in Japan and Korea, popular culture sees a rabbit making mochi and tteok, respectively, in the moon. The mythology of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica also featured a lunar rabbit, for example, Tecciztecatl, the Aztec moon god, was sometimes pictured as an anthropomorphic rabbit.
But I think there is something else going on with the Mary\etc images. In these cases we have people that believe (a) Mary\etc is an angel\god - a powerful spirit, (b) that miracles happen, and these appearances are such, and (c) that their god\etc is communication by such images to those of the faith (see John 10:10 for this kind of thinking).
In other words, sever confirmation bias: it's a miracle because they want a miracle and it looks enough like Mary\etc to be like a miraculous vision, so it's a miracle.
There likely is also cognitive dissonance: tell a believer that it looks like something else, and they'll probably deny it (like John 10:10 saying that you need to look with faith to see the evidence that justifies faith).
So we should start believing because of the evidence before our eyes, evidence that you need faith to see, but evidence you will see once you have faith.
So pass the mochi and believe in the Great Rabbit.
Enjoy.
Edited by RAZD, : ...

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
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DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 3178 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 15 of 36 (495680)
01-23-2009 10:06 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by RAZD
01-23-2009 7:33 PM


Re: Just call like you see it
Looks like both of us are going to hell Razd!
It is rather propos and ironic that this depiction of the Virgin Mary looks like a vagina don't you think? What was God thinking? Naughty little sky dad!!
Another question I have is, why do people feel some type of comfort in worshiping these type of images. Is it primarily out of ignorance or are there other factors involved. This truely defies my intellect.
Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by RAZD, posted 01-23-2009 7:33 PM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
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