Friday, October 15, 2010

God rescues 33 miners in Chile. Wait. What?

Here are some of the headlines from around the world regarding the recent rescue of 33 miners in Chile:

"Chilean Mine Rescue; At Long Last a 'Miracle' Comes to Pass"
"In Our View: A Miracle an Hour"
"Chilean Miners: Rival churches claim credit for the miracle"
"Chile's miner 'miracle'"
"Chile's 33 trapped miners all rescued in 'miracle'"
"Chilean miners' health is a miracle, say doctors"
"Miner miracle: Rescue in Chile warms the world"

Of all the headlines I read about the rescue of these 33 Chilean miners, only one by Roger Ebert got it right:

"What do you mean by a miracle?"

As Ebert so rightly states, "there is a common compulsion to describe unlikely outcomes as miraculous -- if they are happy, of course. If sad, they are simply reported on, or among the believing described as 'the will of God.'"

The truth is that mine explosions have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths. My great grandfather was killed in a mine explosion when my grandfather was only 10. Where was the miracle to save his life? Oh wait! It was God's will that my great grandfather died.

There was no miracle in Chile this week. What happened is that tens of thousands of hours of education, engineering and training were used to save lives. Bad things happen and good things happen. This was one of the days where good things happened.

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