Sunday, April 18, 2010

ZenTiger Michael Laws on Lucy

Michael Laws devotes his SST column this week to his daughter, Lucy, and writes a moving and heartfelt article. Lucy has been battling cancer for over two years, and is now in remission, long may it last.

Michael credits three things to her recovery: Lucy's indomitable spirit, the expertise and dedication of the medical team, and quite frankly, a miracle.

I suspect he is right on all counts. Miracles may be few and far between, or they may be more abundant than we realise. We certainly don't get all the miracles we might like, but Michael and family got theirs.

When science and reason hit their limits and are exhausted, and the odds are stacked overwhelmingly against you, I only see something positive in the human spirit when one falls to their knees and prays to God. We pray for miracles, we pray for strength and we pray out of love; and in praying, maybe we are given the grace to continue on.

There was also something transformational for Michael Laws in the suffering he had to watch and endure:
In essence, Lucy made me – makes me – a better person. She delivers me the humanity of empathy, the ability to appreciate and then emote with the disappointment and despair of others. I'm not sure that you must be a parent to acquire this understanding, but for me it refined all my inner selflessness into my soul.
I am so glad for him and his family at this time, and hope Lucy continues to strengthen.

In the last two weeks I have learned my sister has two tumours and kidney failure. She faces tests to determine if they are cancerous or benign, the latter being unlikely.

A very good friend of mine also wrote in that week to say he has Lung Cancer (one of the 10% that don't smoke, is super fit and the least likely to expect to get this) and he has several young children.

Whilst I trust they will both remain positive, and will receive the best medical care, there is at least one thing I can do. Like Michael, I'm going to fall on my knees and pray.



My Golden Girl Lucy

Also covered bright and early by Keeping Stock: Laws on Laws Jnr

23 comment(s):

Canterbury Atheists said...

Are you and Michael Laws therefore saying that your God gave poor-little Lucy cancer just so he could magically cure her when enough people begged him?

What a cruel God this must be.

See ya.

Paul.

ZenTiger said...

Err, no.

Keep reading though, you may yet divine the answer.

Psycho Milt said...

He's an ungrateful, obnoxious prick - as usual. After writing about his daughter's struggle to keep her life and the extraordinary efforts of the specialists involved, he credits her recovery to "divine intervention." If I was her doctor, I'd have a suggestion for Michael Laws where he could stick his prayers.

But it seems insulting his daughter and the medical team looking after wasn't enough: having claimed that God took a personal role in curing his daughter, he mentions the kid in the hospital at the same time who didn't make it. So, his parents obviously didn't pray enough, right? Or did God just deem their kid unworthy of assistance by comparison with Michael Laws' little angel? He doesn't say, but leaves us to draw an obvious conclusion.

KG said...

"If I was her doctor, I'd have a suggestion for Michael Laws where he could stick his prayers."

I'm sure you would. But most doctors aren't so arrogant. I know a few docs very well, well enough to know they do their share of praying.
They also have enough humility to recognise that not all things are explicable in purely mechanical terms and they're honest enough to admit that many times they simply don't know why some patients recover against the odds while others die who 'shouldn't have'.

ZenTiger said...

PM, he credited her life with a combination of things, and was very clear on how grateful he was to the specialists, so your interpretation is way off the mark, IMO.

Do you think they would be so arrogant as to say, "It was nothing to do with Lucy's attitude, just our skills?"

And by the same token, they might see many cases where the difference in response to the same treatment varies in so many inexplicable ways, some might be comfortable that, in addition to skill, attitude, genetics, wind direction etc, that there may have also been a bit of a miracle.

Psycho Milt said...

They also have enough humility to recognise that not all things are explicable in purely mechanical terms and they're honest enough to admit that many times they simply don't know why some patients recover against the odds while others die who 'shouldn't have'.

And, unlike Laws, that humility and honesty keeps them from blathering about miracles and divine intervention in the nation's newspapers when they encounter such a "don't know."

PM, he credited her life with a combination of things, and was very clear on how grateful he was to the specialists, so your interpretation is way off the mark, IMO.

Why? If someone cites divine intervention as one of three factors that cured his daughter, are we to rate God as just one of the team? If the omnipotent creator of the universe and everything in it was intervening to ensure her recovery, how necessary was anyone else to the process really?

KG said...

"And, unlike Laws, that humility and honesty keeps them from blathering about miracles and divine intervention in the nation's newspapers when they encounter such a "don't know."

Really? Try reading this:
Professor Schweigerer went on: 'My doctors were close to saying "we can do no more" after two hours of thorax compression.
'This was because the chances of survival had gone and the little lad must have been brain dead.
'But then suddenly his heart started to beat again ... it was a fantastic miracle."
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1267061/I-got-gate-saw-Grandma-Boy-aged-came-dead.html

The good Prof obviously has never taken advice from a librarian.

KG said...

Oh, and I recently had a squamous-cell carcinoma in the middle of my back simply disappear almost overnight. According to the docs, inexplicable.
So for anybody to rule out any possibility--including a miracle--is plain bloody arrogant.

ZenTiger said...

Ah, so you are upset at the sharing of credit, and then seem annoyed that a miracle (or God) only take some of the credit (not that I see him showing up asking for credit) when clearly he could have done it all.

But the real question is "should he have done it all?"

You don't seem too upset though to share some credit between the specialists and Lucy. By your logic, sharing of any credit with the specialists appears arguable.

Why would you factor the human spirit into outcomes? It's not something easily measured, and many positive people have succumbed, and the placebo effect only counts for so much.

So I can continue this debate, can you tell me if you do actually credit Lucy with any part of the outcome, or if that's you being polite, or perhaps even agnostic on that point?

Something moved the divine to intervene – one moment the aspergillus was there – a rash of white dots, and the next scan it was not. Her odds instantly improved from one-in-10 to eight-in-10.

ZenTiger said...

Great news KG!

Canterbury Atheists said...

Boy oh boy it’s time to spread the chicken entrails and dance naked under the full-moon.

Consider this as an act of share arrogance…..

If Michael Laws daughter had of suffered an amputation of say her left-leg – what then are the chances of your God performing one of his parlour tricks?

How many recorded so-called miracles have occurred when an amputee prayed for a deities intervention and the limb/digit grew magically back?

Is there some passage in The Bible which indicates amputees are exempt his/her healing-powers?

Why does God hate amputees and single them out as being unworthy of healing?

Bye for now.

Paul.

Canterbury Atheists said...

Boy oh boy it’s time to spread the chicken entrails and dance naked under the full-moon.

Consider this as an act of share arrogance…..

If Michael Laws daughter had of suffered an amputation of say her left-leg – what then are the chances of your God performing one of his parlour tricks?

How many recorded so-called miracles have occurred when an amputee prayed for a deities intervention and the limb/digit grew magically back?

Is there some passage in The Bible which indicates amputees are exempt his/her healing-powers?

Why does God hate amputees and single them out as being unworthy of healing?

Bye for now.

Paul.

Psycho Milt said...

KG: you snipped this from Schweigerer's comments: It goes to show the human body is a very resilient organism and you should never give up.'

And I don't doubt the prof's facility has access to a medical library, and that it is entirely within the bounds of possibility that he has visited it and taken the advice of a librarian in how to use it.

Zen: So I can continue this debate, can you tell me if you do actually credit Lucy with any part of the outcome, or if that's you being polite, or perhaps even agnostic on that point?

I'm agnostic on that point. I'm irked by the suggestion that an unexpected outcome must be due to divine intervention in response to prayer, because the very concept invites many questions that are indistinguishable from ridicule.

Obviously you have to believe in such divine intervention for it to be worth praying for such intervention in the first place, and if you feel like the prayers were answered it would be churlish not to be grateful and offer further prayers of thanks. However: if you immediately begin spouting on to the papers about God personally taking an interest in your child's illness and curing her of it despite being apparently willing to let less important people's children snuff it in miserable circumstances, the word "hubris" comes to mind.

KG said...

So I did--because I was making the point that you were wrong about doctors not talking about miracles.
You were wrong and you're not honest enough to acknowledge it.

KG said...

"..despite being apparently willing to let less important people's children snuff it.."

Huh? You mean he's more willing than--say--you Psycho? Based on what?

Psycho Milt said...

Huh? You mean he's more willing than--say--you Psycho? Based on what?

There's really no need to compare me with God. As to your confusion over what the quote meant - how hard can it be? Laws credits divine intervention for saving his daughter in response to people's prayers, then moves onto "those kiddies who didn't make it." Like the little Exclusive Brethren boy, who notably didn't get any divine intervention. The fact Laws doesn't seem to understand the logic of his own statements doesn't mean the logic doesn't exist.

I was making the point that you were wrong about doctors not talking about miracles.
You were wrong and you're not honest enough to acknowledge it.


If I'd been foolish enough to claim no doctors ever talk about miracles, I'd be wrong, yes.

ZenTiger said...

How many recorded so-called miracles have occurred when an amputee prayed for a deities intervention and the limb/digit grew magically back?

There are thousands of cases of a digit growing back. It's happened enough that science now calls it a "fact".

There's been a couple of cases of an entire limb growing back, and I recall one verified miracle where a few centimetres of bone tissue miraculously regenerated.

Here's one such miracle of a whole limb coming back: The Miracle of Calanda

leftrightout said...

Zen, if there indeed are "thousands of cases", surely you could have found one a little more recent than 1640.

ZenTiger said...

However: if you immediately begin spouting on to the papers about God personally taking an interest in your child's illness and curing her of it despite being apparently willing to let less important people's children snuff it in miserable circumstances, the word "hubris" comes to mind.

Well, that's an extremely subjective interpretation. Just as equally possible is that Michael Laws, in his quiet moments is simplify thankful and amazed.

We don't have the full background as to why Michael thinks beating the extremely long odds (as defined by the experts) has an element of the miraculous, but just because you can't deal with the possibility doesn't mean that something bigger than you can obviously fathom makes life a lot more mysterious than you want to believe.

That's fine (as in you are entitled to your opinion), but in this discussion you and Paul seem to be bent on attacking the integrity of Mr Laws, accusing him of arrogance, hubris, dishonesty, and ungrateful (did I miss anything) you seem to stray into the "attack the messenger" with some pretty slim assumptions (based on the other paragraphs in his article you need to ignore to make your case) to argue the non-possibility of divine intervention.

The other error I think that is made here is trying to explain what God should and shouldn't, and could and couldn't do, based on how you would think were you God. I don't think that's a logical argument to make.

Perhaps there is no argument to make.

It's clearly a matter of opinion and it's somewhat outside the realms of science.

The best science can say on the subject of miracles, is that they have no idea why they happen. Maybe they are simply another law of nature waiting to be discovered, and the design of the universe just gets that much more interesting.

ZenTiger said...

LRO, I'll leave you to Google the amazing regenerative nature of the digit!

I answered specifically one case of an entire limb (that is obviously rarer). Besides it's more fun to do one at a time, and watch the goal posts change.

Just one...just one after 1640...just one in my neighbourhood..etc

Psycho Milt said...

In the matter of whether this cure can be put down to divine intervention, yes it is just opinion. There really isn't a whole lot of evidence to draw on to form arguments for and against statistical outlier vs divine intervention.

In the matter of the conclusions to be drawn about Mr Laws' character from his statements, however, we have more to go on. A man who declares God intervened personally to benefit him alone of all those present, is implying relative merit - unintentionally in this case, no doubt, but the implication is there nevertheless.

The other error I think that is made here is trying to explain what God should and shouldn't, and could and couldn't do, based on how you would think were you God. I don't think that's a logical argument to make.

According to the theory, we are made in God's image. Which means, if an action attributed to God strikes us as morally questionable, logically there should be every reason to question the attribution.

Ozy Mandias said...

I was moved by what Laws wrote. I dont always agree with what he says but found the article inspiring.

Sorry to hear about your family and friends Zen. You are right. At certain times in life the only option we have left is to pray.

ZenTiger said...

Thanks Ozy.

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