7/31/09

Miracle Baby Causes Atheist to Pray

The following news story seemed both politically and polemically relevant.

Gene Warner, “Women & Children’s Cares for Ontario ‘Miracle Baby’—Shortage at Hospital Where Ava Was Born Necessitated Journey,” Buffalo News, July 02, 2009

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One-week-old Ava Isabella Stinson — all 2 pounds of her — has made quite a dramatic entrance into the world.

First her birth. Last Thursday, her parents, Natalie Paquette and Richard Stinson, rushed to a Hamilton, Ont., hospital, where she was born 20 minutes later — more than three months before her due date.
She weighed 2 pounds 4 ounces at birth.

Then came another complication that doctors couldn’t treat — there was no room at the inn for Ava in the Hamilton area.

Lack of any empty beds in a neonatal unit in Hamilton’s McMaster Children’s Hospital forced authorities to prepare to take Ava across the border to Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.

But an intense storm that afternoon grounded the helicopter, so the McMaster neonatal transport team brought her here by ambulance…

“It happens all the time,” Ryan said [Dr. Rita M. Ryan, Women & Children’s chief of neonatology]. “They have a certain number of NICU beds [in Southern Ontario], and sometimes they run out”…

When there are no beds available at McMaster, hospital officials look for other neonatal beds in Ontario. If none can be found, they look to the United States…

Ava’s story, with all its cross-border twists and turns, also remains a human one.

Stinson said he has found only one way to explain the whirlwind of events in the last week.

“I was an atheist,” he said in a lengthy phone interview from his Hamilton home. “Now I’m considering going to church and being a believer. There’s got to be someone up there who’s saving our little daughter.”

On Tuesday morning, Stinson got up and prayed for little Ava. That day, he and Paquette learned their baby had been taken off the ventilator the day before.

“That’s enough for me to be a believer,” he said…

“She’s the smallest baby in the world,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
And he’ll never forget the first time he saw Ava.

“The first thing I did was cry. Then I cupped her head in my right hand. Her head was way too small for my hand. I was talking, and she reached up and touched my finger”…

The whole experience has changed Stinson, and not only in a religious way. He also has a different view of Americans.
“The American people have been so awesome, I’d like to go back there and vacation,” he said…

“I’m just going to tell her she’s a celebrity — and a miracle baby.”

28 comments:

  1. I'm certainly glad their baby is okay, though I fail to see what this proves. Every single one of the atheists on my blogroll are former believers, as am I. Bruce is a former pastor, and a famous one at that. Conversions don't prove anything.

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  2. Where did Mariano claim this guy's conversion proved anything? It's just interesting to see someone who was an atheist turn because of personal experience that they considered to be miraculous. It's nice to know that some atheists out there are unwilling to cast every event in the world off to naturalism.

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  3. It proves Atheism is dead for this man and that is the title of the blog isnt it.

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  4. "...also remains a human one."

    I would emphasize that it was a strictly human one. This baby was saved by the efforts of the community of man - the governments, the hospitals, the doctors, the nurses, the administrators, the ambulance drivers, the researchers, etc. Humans one and all. No gods deserve any credit. Stinson has (unintentionally, no doubt) insulted all of those valiant efforts by transferring his thanks.

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  5. Without the medical care the bay would be dead. Period.

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  6. "Humans one and all. No gods deserve any credit."

    Yes, it's not possible that God would give us the ability to learn and study and take care of each other, not to mention the desire to take care of each other even when it doesn't benefit us at all. Nope, it's all because we humans are so awesome on our own.

    Except when we're killing and torturing each other.

    And of course when that happens, God deserves to be blamed for not doing something about it.

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  7. "...not to mention the desire to take care of each other even when it doesn't benefit us at all."

    If we didn't take care of each other, we wouldn't be here. Empathy is an evolved survival skill. Empathy is the bedrock of ethics and morals.

    Cooperation among humans is the key to our success. Sometimes this cooperation does not extend to other tribes due to the need for resources, land, etc., but we are on average far more peaceful than we were when religion was the political system.

    Long live the separation of church and state!
    Long live the first ammendment!

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  8. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! He who guides the hands of physicians & He in whose Divine Providence willed to let this little one live another day in this Life

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  9. Empthy evolved ? evidence please

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  10. Anonymous said...
    Empthy evolved ? evidence please
    ---------------------------------------

    Haha. The credulous words of someone who has never studied anthropology, and probably no other science.

    You want me to try to show you the progression of evolution through our oldest ancestors with small primitive brains residing in small competetive isolated groups up through continually more evolved and more cooperative species in 700 words or less?

    Forget it. You explain everything you know by saying God did it. You are probably not able to grasp any concept that would take more than three words to define.
    If you refuse to study valid anthropology, which includes archaeology and paeontology, that is your choice to remain uneducated not mine.

    If you think the evidence does not exist, then that is the ignorance that you will continue to live in. Some of have spent years studying the evidence and even helping collect and classifying data. How many years of your time have you spent studying the evidence? Hmmmm?
    None.

    I suggest you go at least to a nearby community college and take a couple courses to see what real science is about because it is obvious that you don't have a clue.

    As for the bible, I have a beautiful leather bound bible here on my desk that I first read cover to cover when I was twelve years old and I read verses every day.

    I am currently involved in a formal bible study.

    Whe you've actually studied biology and the significance of ERVs, & et., come back and we can talk.
    People who have no clue how science works have no right whatsoever to criticise it.

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  11. What a load of wind, full of impetuous assumptions about me and the subject.
    Why is it always so hard to answer a simple question, sidetrack the issue and start dribbling when you simply cant provide a credible answer. Well done

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  12. Anon.,
    If you do not even know what the evidence for evolution is, there is no reason to discuss it with you.
    You can find the evidence and then try to refute it if you choose to, but I will not waste my time because I know exactly what you answers will be. I've been down the road countless times.

    Repeat, when someone asks me what the evidence is, they don't know enough for me to try to explain it, and to say that it is a simple question, you again show total ignorance.

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  13. @Anonymous:
    Why doesn't he (or others)explain it to you? Because A) even the most succinct of explanations would take up the length of a novella at best, which you'd certainly refuse to read (or would die from boredom trying), and B) anyone who demands "Oh yeah? Show me the evidence!" instantly shows they are too ignorant and uneducated to be worth anyone's time. No-one who's ever bothered, for half a second, to actually look for and research said evidence, would ever demand "show me the evidence!". It's that simple.

    You're all the same. You don't give a damn about evidence or actual answers. All you do is look for loopholes, tiny problems or anything at all that you'd use to "prove" how we (folks who've actually studied stuff) are the ones rutting in ignorant shit. So quite frankly, just forget it.

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  14. A simple Google search on 'empathy evolution' will give you a wealth of information about how and why empathy evolved. Of course, this is the internet, so there is also a lot of flaky stuff as well - so caution is advised. However, even a cursory overview will show you vast amount of research into this topic.

    But here are couple of URLs picked from the first couple of pages that looked like reasonably good beginnings.





    http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/greatergood/archive/2005fallwinter/FallWinter0506_deWaal.pdf



    http://www.emory.edu/LIVING_LINKS/pdf_attachments/de%20Waal%20(2008).pdf

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  15. What happens if the baby dies? We all would hope this won't happen. Will Stinson again become an atheist? After being an atheist he should have realized that prayer doesn't work and god(s) don't exist.

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  16. God certainly allows personal events in our lives that bring us to the point where we realize we have no control and we need Him. God did an amazing work in this family's life.

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  17. How does Stinson know it was "God" and not Zeus or Ahura Mazda who intervened on Ava's behalf?

    Anyone?

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  18. Here is an explicit case showing the power of prayer:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090801/ap_on_re_us/us_prayer_death

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  19. Yep - beware the power of prayer: when taken seriously, it tends to result in death, as the Neumann case so eloquently demonstrates.

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  20. I have to say, I saw absolutely nothing in this article which made me question my atheism. Was I supposed to?

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  21. Thank you jdhuey thats the type of reply I was hoping for

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  22. Looking for a biological explanation as at present I cannot comprehend how this could have come about unguided from matter.
    Thank you again I will check out the links
    and thank you for not resorting to a side topic screed

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  23. "Thank you jdhuey thats the type of reply I was hoping for"

    You are welcome. But, again fair warning, when it comes to evolutionary psychology there is a great deal to crap out there on the intertubes. The topic attracts a great deal of interest from the general populace and this is a field that easily lends itself to extended theoretical speculation and doesn't easily lend itself to real testing and observation. So, when it gets written up in the popular press, the focus is on the speculation and not on the solid foundations. So the result is a fundamentally good idea that is being sullied.

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  24. Do not go down the misguided path of naturalism by looking for the material causes of this miracle. Do not investigate whether or not infant survivability is higher for those who pray than it is for those who don't. To do so would be like trying to find the Andromeda Galaxy by looking through a microscope.

    God's plan includes actions that are carried out only if people ask and others that are carried out regardless. We have no way to determine which is which because the coincidence of prayer is not causation. To credit prayer for this miraculous birth is to be self-congratulatory about man's role in the miracle. Shame on you.

    Besides, everything in God's perfect plan is a miracle, not just the little tricks that you find impressive. Every birth is a miracle. "Miracle baby" is redundant.

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  25. @jdhuey
    "Here is an explicit case showing the power of prayer:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090801/ap_on_re_us/us_prayer_death"


    Rather stupidity. If Bible says not to call the doctor but just pray why billions of Christians didn't do just that? Praying for daily bread didn't stop them from working, morever "Qui non laborat, non manducet".

    @George Wright
    "I have to say, I saw absolutely nothing in this article which made me question my atheism. Was I supposed to?"

    This father's personal experience changed him. You just read another annoying article. Usually atheists need something to shake them for change to happen like for example Tony Fontane or Howard Storm. After conversion Fontane refused to sing his old songs. He got sued by recording company and eventually lost all his money. Storm's wife said that she absolutely did not know anything about him after he had his NDE. That's transforming the power of personal experience ;).

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  26. tremor - "After conversion Fontane refused to sing his old songs. He got sued by recording company and eventually lost all his money."

    You know what they say: a fool and his money are soon parted. Here's a case in point.

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  27. (An anonymous Christian)

    I see the transformative power of atheism here to make great teachers and compassionate, open-minded souls.

    Yes, the world would be better with less of this silly "love thy neighbor" and such. Better just to bite the heads off of those who question you and call them stupid. That'll fix 'em.

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