Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


Vittorio Micheli - the Lourdes miracle healing that wasn't a miracle!

There is no evidence of an amputee getting a new limb as a result of a miracle. The Church has to make do with tissue that was missing and allegedly grew back. That is what it did with the Vittorio Micheli case.

Vittorio Micheli was in his twenties.

He could barely move for he had a large growth on his buttock.

His left leg seemed to have got shorter.

He felt very unwell.

He was given vitamins and ACTH.

There was no improvement.

Then a biopsy was organised.

 As a result of a biopsy, he got a bad diagnosis. It was believed he had a sarcoma type tumour on his hip that had decimated the bone.

He had had no treatment for cancer.

His leg was no use to him.

In 1963 he went to Lourdes in France.

A number of weeks later, a cast he was wearing was removed.

A bone re-growth far beyond anything that could be expected by science had taken place or so the Lourdes Medical Bureau said. "A remarkable reconstruction of the iliac bone and cotyloid cavity has taken place - overwhelming bone reconstruction has taken place of a type unknown in the annals of world medicine."

He was cured.

Today he has a limp and wears a special shoe to help deal with it.

The question is, What had Lourdes to do with this if anything?

As usual, there are questions over the original diagnosis.

And he had treatment of a chemical nature before he went to Lourdes.

After the mass was seen on his buttock he was made to wait 36 days before an x ray was given!

He was treated with useless vitamins.

And he had to wait 46 days for a hospital biopsy.

Remissions of tumours like his are very rare but they do happen.

Why does the Lourdes Bureau that was investigating refuse to give out proper copies of the x-rays. All that is going about is bad quality photocopies.
And unless a surgeon opened the man to look at his hip, there would be no way of telling if he really did regenerate the bone or if it was a case of pseudoarthrosis which can be mistaken for bone growth.

Micheli was told twice he had only days to live and both times the doctors were wrong. It is in his report.

He spent ten months in a hospital before he went to Lourdes. The claim that he had no treatment for the alleged cancer is definitely spurious. Treatment was available and he probably had it and the information was lost or not recorded. It is hard to believe they gave him nothing but nutrients and drugs to control the pain.

How reliable was the diagnosis when instead of getting the biopsy done as soon as the tumour was found it took 43 days for it to be done? It does not look like that there really was definitely a cancer.

If there was, there are a handful of reports of cancer such as his going into remission. A similar case but involving no alleged miracles can be found in the Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica from February 1978.

And we know that though Lourdes said his hip was totally destroyed, a medical report from June 1963 says that was able to walk even without crutches and did not have any pain. Of course he had a hip!

If there was a regeneration, it did not happen after Lourdes.

I am indebted to James Randi's book, The Faith Healers for this information.

The Church stated in 1976 that the cure was to be the 63rd miracle of Lourdes.

APPENDIX

The Church regards the Lourdes miracle of Vittorio Michelli as an example of the iliac bone and the cavity at the hip regenerating. It is assumed that is medically impossible. He suffered a lot of damage due to having osteosarcoma. X ray images are supposed to support this having been made in 1964, 1965, 1968 and 1969. Why nobody has them online is a worry. Until we see them that is a matter of interpretation.

There is nothing clearly magical here. The bone just grew again at a normal pace. A miracle would suggest that the bone just appeared like a snap of the fingers. As Michael Talbot writes, it looks more like some kind of self-healing phenomena.

We have to remember that bone can regrow a bit. That is what casts are for. The bone of a broken limb has to regenerate. He had a tumour and when the tumour shrunk gradually bone destroyed by the tumour came back to an extent.

The attempt to link the cure with Lourdes is just wishful thinking. He went there but that does not mean its powers cured him. The abuse of the miracle for propaganda suggests that whatever was at work it was not God!

Regarding Lourdes cures such as this one the experts conclude as you can see from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3854941/:

Quote:

After many mental twists and turns, we reached the same conclusions as Carrel some eighty to hundred years ago: “Instead of being a simple place of miracles, of interest only to the pious, Lourdes presents a considerable scientific interest,” and “Although uncommon, the miraculous cures are evidence of somatic and mental processes we do not know.” Upping the ante, we dare write that understanding these processes could bring about new and effective therapeutic methods. The Lourdes cures concern science as well as religion.

End of quote

The quote shows that the Church is cherry-picking medical experts when it says their work points to a miracle.  One or two doctors note that it cannot be naturally explained and those who note that this does not mean miracle are ignored.

If his hip regenerating again is a miracle, then why does the miracle mimic time and other natural processes and leave you thinking this is one rare natural occurrence? Such a miracle is trying to overthrow a medical fact - if it is a fact that bone does not grow that way. Here we have something intervening in nature to deceive us that a law is not a law. We cannot then say it is a fact that my cup of milk will not be undrinkable next year.  A miracle that tries to avoid being too obvious is in fact denying the doctrine that a miracle has to stand out from nature clearly.  It really turns a miracle into something stupid rather than a sign from God.