It is not my intention, either as an individual or as a scientist, to express an opinion on religious visions and miracles. Science has generally failed to understand these phenomena and many religions on the whole have tended to ignore scientific explanations.
For the religious amongst us, a close study of the history of religion would have seen deliberate attempts a couple of millennia ago to trick people into believing certain things supernatural. In a recent visit to
, we heard tales of how early “Christians” were duped and “cured”. Ephesus
When the Western World was in the tight grip of the Catholic Church, the Jesuits were generally regarded as the greatest scholars. They brought Western culture and religion to the East. They must have had a glimpse of the Chinese understanding of the universe and the world. Yet for so long the religious view of Flat Earth held true. Did the Jesuit scholars know the truth or did they pretend not to in order to avoid persecution and possible death? We shall never know.
Many “visions” have proved to be the work of errant brain waves due either to epilepsy or brain tumours. Yet the Church continued to celebrate these phenomena.
© 2012 Am Ang Zhang
From my book The Cockroach Catcher, Chapter 15: Miracles:
When Professor MacFadzean first arrived in
Hong Kong many years ago, he was
consulted on a middle-aged Chinese man, a fisherman who had a huge lymph node
under his left arm pit. Investigations showed that it was a secondary from a
primary in the lung.
The man asked him, “How long?”
“Three months. Maximum six.”
Two year later as the Professor was crossing the harbour on Star Ferry, a man came up to him. It was not difficult to spot him anywhere in Hong Kong as he was at least a head taller than most, with a bright red face that Scots seem to acquire in
“Professor. Professor. Remember me?”
The man pointed to his armpit.
“Three months. Remember?”
It turned out the man sought the advice of his fortune teller in Shatin on the third day of Chinese New Year, and he had a good “fortune” telling him about an illness disappearing.
“Now it has disappeared!”
What a miracle! Fortune telling has been a major growth industry in
Hong Kong. Recently, the richest Chinese business woman
left all to her fortune teller.
“Never be definite about prognosis, especially if it is a bad one. Spontaneous cures have been recorded regularly, especially with lung cancer.”
To the patient, it was old ways triumphing over modern medicine. It was his “miracle”.
To remember our eminent yet formidable Professor of Medicine, Professor MacFadzean: One Patient One Disease.
I would like to pay tribute to our eminent yet formidable Professor of Medicine, Professor MacFadzean, 'Old Mac' as he was 'affectionately' known by us. He taught us two important things right from the start:
First - One patient, one disease. It is useful to assume that a patient is suffering from a single disease, and that the different manifestations all spring from the same basic disease.
Second - Never say never. One must never be too definitive in matters of prognosis. What if one is wrong?