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Old 01-03-2009, 11:16 PM   #76
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You just joined in by suggesting that science only makes suggestions; and saying that I am arguing science can prove a negative. I am not saying that the scientific method can ever prove anything to a 100% confidence threshold, nor am I making some stupid appeal to a God of science which makes anything I say authoritative and by definition correct.

Science cannot say that there is absolutely no chance God exists, or that we definitely don't have a soul, or that the world wasn't invented yesterday by a cosmic cat named Franklin. But it does produce working models of how the world works, powerful models which can answer important questions like the origin of humanity, consciousness, the planet earth, life and possibly even the universe (although the possibility of having a good model of universe formation is still an open question, it may be impossible to test from within the universe).

But it can take the observed facts, advance different possible explanations, and revise both these explanations and the confidence in them as more evidence comes to light or someone comes up with a better working model (in the cartoon world of science which overlooks the nitty gritty). It can never be 100% and it is always up for revision.

When I use terms like "suggest", "may", and "seems" it is deliberate,

As far as any solution pleasing both sides, on that front I think that you are exactly right, there is no solution which can fully satisfy both naturalism and supernaturalism; we can draw lines in our heads and argue that science answers how questions but theology tells us why, or that great moral truths are produced by religions even though science can answer why we feel compelled to follow them, or that where science stops working we have room for something awesome (which leaves room for God).

My world view is that I feel that human beings and human culture are ultimately a product of the natural world, and even though it is impractical most natural things are possibly knowable (if Jesus existed, if he actually walked on water, if Mohammed was visited by angels). Where we don't or can't know we can be agnostic; but that agnosticism doesn't mean that everything is equally likely, it can be made in light of how we understand other facts.

I feel that the corollary is that a religious person may always put some thing past the point of possible explanation (the truth of the resurrection, the virgin birth, the evil of homosexuality, the justness of killing Muslims, the absolute existence of good and evil, the infinite forgiveness of Christ, the beauty of koranic verse, the goodness of humanity, the virtues of suffering, the persistence of consciousness, the existence of a creative intelligence, the beauty of art, the dangers of unbelief, the fine-tuning of the universe, the love of a mother for her child, the feeling of love from God, the spiritual experience, the Delphic Oracle, the fact the universe can make sense, that science is the study of God's work ad infinitum).

I freely admit that there is a possibility of life after death, and angels; even though there are explanations which don't invoke anything supernatural; but when I say there s no need for a God, and that when we brain stops functioning our mind ceases (assuming that brain produces mind) I am not affirming anything absolute certainty. Anybody that claims absolute truth is probably lying.
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:22 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by diamond View Post
Now, now let it be understood that I acknowledge and appreciate the scientific facts that A_W has posted.

It's common knowledge that we humans only use 10% of our brains, and I think God did that for a reason. He personally blocked out a memory of the eternal nature of our souls-so that we can grow here in this sphere. What we learn here we will take back w/us when we meet with Him again.

I also agree with the left side/right side linear thinking/ceberal thinking sides of the brain, and I suspect God made A_W's left side slightly larger to perhaps humble him a bit later on in life.


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Both the 10% of brain is used and the left-right hemispheres being dominant on one side or another are classic facts which everybody knows, but few know are actually false.
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The Ten-Percent Myth

Claim: We use only ten percent of our brains.

Status: False.

Origins: Someone has taken most of your brain away and you probably didn't even know it. Well, not taken your brain away, exactly, but decided that you don't use it. It's the old myth heard time and again about how people use only ten percent of their brains. While for the people who repeat that myth, it's probably true, the rest of us happily use all of our brains.

The Myth and the Media

That tired Ten-Percent claim pops up all the time. In 1998, national magazine ads for U.S. Satellite Broadcasting showed a drawing of a brain. Under it was the caption, "You only use 11 percent of its potential." Well, they're a little closer than the ten-percent figure, but still off by about 89 percent. In July 1998, ABC television ran promotional spots for The Secret Lives of Men, one of their offerings for the fall season's lineup. The spot featured a full-screen blurb that read, "Men only use ten percent of their brains."

One reason this myth has endured is that it has been adopted by psychics and other paranormal pushers to explain psychic powers. On more than one occasion I've heard psychics tell their audiences, "We only use ten percent of our minds. If scientists don't know what we do with the other

ninety percent, it must be used for psychic powers!" In Reason To Believe: A Practical Guide to Psychic Phenomena, author Michael Clark mentions a man named Craig Karges. Karges charges a lot of money for his "Intuitive Edge" program, designed to develop natural psychic abilities. Clark quotes Karges as saying: "We normally use only 10 to 20 percent of our minds. Think how different your life would be if you could utilize that other 80 to 90 percent known as the subconscious mind."

This was also the reason that Caroline Myss gave for her alleged intuitive powers on a segment of Eye to Eye with Bryant Gumbel, which aired in July of 1998. Myss, who has written books on unleashing "intuitive powers," said that everyone has intuitive gifts, and lamented that we use so little of the mind's potential. To make matters worse, just the week before, on the very same program, correct information was presented about the myth. In a bumper spot between the program and commercials, a quick quiz flashed onscreen: What percentage of the brain is used? The multiple-choice answers ranged from 10 percent to 100 percent. The correct answer appeared, which I was glad to see. But if the producers knew that what one of their interviewees said is clearly and demonstrably inaccurate, why did they let it air? Does the right brain not know what the left brain is doing? Perhaps the Myss interview was a repeat, in which case the producers presumably checked her facts after it aired and felt some responsibility to correct the error in the following week's broadcast. Or possibly the broadcasts aired in sequence and the producers simply did not care and broadcast Myss and her misinformation anyway.

Even Uri Geller, who has made a career out of trying to convince people he can bend metal with his mind, trots out this little gem. This claim appears in his book Uri Geller's Mind-Power Book in the introduction: "Our minds are capable of remarkable, incredible feats, yet we don't use them to their full capacity. In fact, most of us only use about 10 per cent of our brains, if that. The other 90 per cent is full of untapped potential and undiscovered abilities, which means our minds are only operating in a very limited way instead of at full stretch. I believe that we once had full power over our minds. We had to, in order to survive, but as our world has become more sophisticated and complex we have forgotten many of the abilities we once had" (italicized phrases emphasized in original).

Evidence Against the Ten-Percent Myth

The argument that psychic powers come from the unused majority of the brain is based on the logical fallacy of the argument from ignorance. In this fallacy, lack of proof for a position (or simply lack of information) is used to try to support a particular claim. Even if it were true that the vast majority of the human mind is unused (which it clearly is not), that fact in no way implies that any extra capacity could somehow give people paranormal powers. This fallacy pops up all the time in paranormal claims, and is especially prevalent among UFO proponents. For example: Two people see a strange light in the sky. The first, a UFO believer, says, "See there! Can you explain that?" The skeptic replies that no, he can't. The UFO believer is gleeful. "Ha! You don't know what it is, so it must be aliens!" he says, arguing from ignorance.

What follows are two of the reasons that the Ten-Percent story is suspect. (For a much more thorough and detailed analysis of the subject, see Barry Beyerstein's chapter in the 1999 book Mind Myths: Exploring Everyday Mysteries of the Mind.)

1) Brain imaging research techniques such as PET scans (positron emission tomography) and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) clearly show that the vast majority of the brain does not lie fallow. Indeed, although certain minor functions may use only a small part of the brain at one time, any sufficiently complex set of activities or thought patterns will indeed use many parts of the brain. Just as people don't use all of their muscle groups at one time, they also don't use all of their brain at once. For any given activity, such as eating, watching television, making love, or reading, you may use a few specific parts of your brain. Over the course of a whole day, however, just about all of the brain is used at one time or another.

2) The myth presupposes an extreme localization of functions in the brain. If the "used" or "necessary" parts of the brain were scattered all around the organ, that would imply that much of the brain is in fact necessary. But the myth implies that the "used" part of the brain is a discrete area, and the "unused" part is like an appendix or tonsil, taking up space but essentially unnecessary. But if all those parts of the brain are unused, removal or damage to the "unused" part of the brain should be minor or unnoticed. Yet people who have suffered head trauma, a stroke, or other brain injury are frequently severely impaired. Have you ever heard a doctor say, ". . . But luckily when that bullet entered his skull, it only damaged the 90 percent of his brain he didn't use"? Of course not.

Variants of the Ten-Percent Myth

The myth is not simply a static, misunderstood factoid. It has several forms, and this adaptability gives it a shelf life longer than lacquered Spam. In the basic form, the myth claims that years ago a scientist discovered that we indeed did use only ten percent of our brains. Another variant is that only ten percent of the brain had been mapped, and this in turn became misunderstood as ten percent used. A third variant was described earlier by Craig Karges. This view is that the brain is somehow divided neatly into two parts: the conscious mind which is used ten to twenty percent of the time (presumably at capacity); and the subconscious mind, where the remaining eighty to ninety percent of the brain is unused. This description betrays a profound misunderstanding of brain function research.

Part of the reason for the long life of the myth is that if one variant can be proven incorrect, the person who held the belief can simply shift the reason for his belief to another basis, while the belief itself stays intact. So, for example, if a person is shown that PET scans depict activity throughout the entire brain, he can still claim that, well, the ninety percent figure really referred to the subconscious mind, and therefore the Ten-Percent figure is still basically correct.

Regardless of the exact version heard, the myth is spread and repeated, by both the well-meaning and the deliberately deceptive. The belief that remains, then, is what Robert J. Samuelson termed a "psycho-fact, [a] belief that, though not supported by hard evidence, is taken as real because its constant repetition changes the way we experience life." People who don't know any better will repeat it over and over, until, like the admonition against swimming right after you eat, the claim is widely believed. ("Triumph of the Psycho-Fact," Newsweek, 9 May 1994.)

The origins of the myth are not at all clear. Beyerstein, of the Brain Behaviour Laboratory at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, has traced it back to at least the early part of the century. A 1998 column in New Scientist magazine also suggested various roots, including Albert Einstein and Dale Carnegie ("Brain Drain"). It likely has a number of sources, principally misunderstood or misinterpreted legitimate scientific findings as well as self-help gurus.

The most powerful lure of the myth is probably the idea that we might develop psychic abilities, or at least gain a leg up on the competition by improving our memory or concentration. All this is available for the asking, the ads say, if we just tapped into our most incredible of organs, the brain. It is past time to put this myth to rest, although if it has survived at least a century so far, it will surely live on into the new millennium. Perhaps the best way to combat this chestnut is to reply to the speaker, when the myth is mentioned, "Oh? What part don't you use?"

Acknowledgments:

I am indebted to Dr. Barry Beyerstein for providing research help and suggestions.


Benjamin Radford is Managing Editor of the Skeptical Inquirer and holds a degree in psychology.
snopes.com: Ten Percent of our Brains

Always be willing question recieved wisdom.
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:37 PM   #78
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:52 PM   #79
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Our brains are like other ape brains, but they have been much more positively selected for, the cost of having big brains is large, and an ongoing puzzle in evolutionary biology is explaining how human beings alone have such highly developed intelligence (if our dead neanderthal cousins were alive it could make this easier).

What we have is a biological organ, which is the product of evolution, that produces consciousness. If this is the case (and we have every reason to think it is) then it is difficult to make a soul serve any purpose, it is an unneeded and non-falsifiable element. If everything that makes us human (highly developed consciousness, empathy, love, intelligence etc.) is explainable in biological terms then any non-physical soul is nonsensical. If we accept humans as a product of evolution, in which populations change and diverge into new species then it becomes very difficult to say that there was an exact point in time when a particular clade of apes became human, a point when we gained all the attributes which we consider souls. This leaves the possibility that the soul (the collection of attributes that most people call a soul) was imbued into our lineage at different points in time (which from an evolutionary perspective makes sense, but I can see it becomes difficult from a metaphysical one).

Maybe I am over-thinking the issue, because people obviously believe in souls and accept evolution; I recognise that it is tedious, but accepting that souls exist as something beyond the material has to be a faith-based position.
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:53 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by A_Wanderer View Post
You just joined in by suggesting that science only makes suggestions; and saying that I am arguing science can prove a negative. I am not saying that the scientific method can ever prove anything to a 100% confidence threshold, nor am I making some stupid appeal to a God of science which makes anything I say authoritative and by definition correct.

Science cannot say that there is absolutely no chance God exists, or that we definitely don't have a soul, or that the world wasn't invented yesterday by a cosmic cat named Franklin. But it does produce working models of how the world works, powerful models which can answer important questions like the origin of humanity, consciousness, the planet earth, life and possibly even the universe (although the possibility of having a good model of universe formation is still an open question, it may be impossible to test from within the universe).

But it can take the observed facts, advance different possible explanations, and revise both these explanations and the confidence in them as more evidence comes to light or someone comes up with a better working model (in the cartoon world of science which overlooks the nitty gritty). It can never be 100% and it is always up for revision.

When I use terms like "suggest", "may", and "seems" it is deliberate,

As far as any solution pleasing both sides, on that front I think that you are exactly right, there is no solution which can fully satisfy both naturalism and supernaturalism; we can draw lines in our heads and argue that science answers how questions but theology tells us why, or that great moral truths are produced by religions even though science can answer why we feel compelled to follow them, or that where science stops working we have room for something awesome (which leaves room for God).

My world view is that I feel that human beings and human culture are ultimately a product of the natural world, and even though it is impractical most natural things are possibly knowable (if Jesus existed, if he actually walked on water, if Mohammed was visited by angels). Where we don't or can't know we can be agnostic; but that agnosticism doesn't mean that everything is equally likely, it can be made in light of how we understand other facts.

I feel that the corollary is that a religious person may always put some thing past the point of possible explanation (the truth of the resurrection, the virgin birth, the evil of homosexuality, the justness of killing Muslims, the absolute existence of good and evil, the infinite forgiveness of Christ, the beauty of koranic verse, the goodness of humanity, the virtues of suffering, the persistence of consciousness, the existence of a creative intelligence, the beauty of art, the dangers of unbelief, the fine-tuning of the universe, the love of a mother for her child, the feeling of love from God, the spiritual experience, the Delphic Oracle, the fact the universe can make sense, that science is the study of God's work ad infinitum).

I freely admit that there is a possibility of life after death, and angels; even though there are explanations which don't invoke anything supernatural; but when I say there s no need for a God, and that when we brain stops functioning our mind ceases (assuming that brain produces mind) I am not affirming anything absolute certainty. Anybody that claims absolute truth is probably lying.
There you for explaining the reasons for your stance. I can respect those. Otherwise, there's not much in the above post I can debate with you, as you made few declarations that necessitated a rebuttal, but I appreciate your explanation.
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:58 PM   #81
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Maybe I am over-thinking the issue, because people obviously believe in souls and accept evolution; I recognise that it is tedious, but accepting that souls exist as something beyond the material has to be a faith-based position.

screams his Left brain..
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:51 AM   #82
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Whether this story is true or not - I believe in the existence of angels on this earth, no matter what form. I can also imagine it's hard for people to believe in this existence, especially when they have never encountered such situations before. We can only respect each others beliefs, be it believing in other entities or not.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:21 PM   #83
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Whether this story is true or not - I believe in the existence of angels on this earth, .
Good Jan.Star you may enjoy this interesting but true story that occured in 1986 in Cokeville Wy.

Kids saw their guardian angels after praying while being taken hostage while in school by a man with a bomb attached to himself.

He held the kids and teachers at bay threatening to blow the school up.
Right before the bomb exploded at least 3 kids were able to see Angels descending from the ceiling down to their level and warn them to turn and run to a certain parts of the class room.

Only 2 people died, the bomber and his accomplice, none of the other 150 people were killed......



Anyway here's the story:

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Angels in the Classroom
'Clearly, he knew there was no way his demands could be met and had intended all along on using his bomb...'
BY: Ron and Nate Hartley

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Reprinted with permission from Angels on Earth, a Guideposts publication.

Ron Hartley
In the spring of 1986, I was a sheriff’s investigator for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in Cokeville, a little ranching town nestled in the craggy mountains of western Wyoming. On May 16, at approximately 1:30 p.m., a man with a bomb--a warped criminal genius named David Gary Young--seized the Cokeville Elementary School and threatened mass murder if his bizarre demands were not met. Among those he held hostage were my four children, including my six-year-old son, Nathan.

Nathan Hartley
After lunch, strange things began to happen at school. All of us kids and the teachers were herded into Mrs. Mitchell’s first-grade classroom. Somebody said something about a safety demonstration and a big surprise. I thought, Cool, no more class today!
Then I saw him--a raggedy man with wild eyes and a gun. He had shaggy hair and a red beard. A plain-looking woman was with him. She acted as his helper. The man growled orders at us. There were a whole bunch of rifles and guns lined up under the blackboard at the front of the room. The man threatened to shoot anyone who gave him trouble. Pretty soon everyone was jammed shoulder to shoulder in the room. It was stuffy and there was a strong smell of gasoline in the air.

What was really frightening, though, was a shopping cart he had--the kind you use at the supermarket. It was full of wires and metal and was attached to him by a string. Notebooks were strewn across the floor. When he and the woman finished piling up the notebooks, the man waved his gun and shouted at us, "I am a revolutionary! I am the most wanted man in the country!"

Ron

David Gary Young was no stranger to Cokeville. Some years earlier he had been appointed town marshal. Soon, however, it became disturbingly clear that he fancied himself another Wyatt Earp. He swaggered around town, recklessly twirling a pair of loaded side arms. He was given to irrational outbursts. In a matter of months his erratic behavior got him summarily dismissed. When he married a local woman, a would–be café singer named Doris Luff, and roared off on his motorcycle, the townspeople thought they’d seen the last of him. Now he was back.

The shopping cart was filled with deadly explosives. Young had attached the bomb’s trigger mechanism to his wrist with a short length of twine. If anything happened to David Gary Young, the whole school would be blown sky-high with him.

Eventually, Young sent out his demands to the police officers who had surrounded the school. He wanted $300 million in ransom for the 167 hostages he held--students, teachers, school workers, and a UPS driver, nearly a quarter of Cokeville’s population. He also wanted a personal phone call from the president of the United States.

Nathan
Some of the kids started crying after the man with the red beard said he was the most wanted man in the country. Some of us started to pray quietly. I don’t know why but I wasn’t that scared. I knew it was a very dangerous situation, but I didn’t think about being hurt. But the smell of gasoline! The fumes were overpowering. Some of the kids started getting sick. The man wouldn’t let anyone leave the room so the kids threw up in wastebaskets. Then he ordered the windows opened.

The woman who was with him did everything he said. Her name was Doris. The funny thing was she seemed pretty nice. She walked around talking to us, and even got us interested in playing games. She said, “Think of this as an adventure, something you can tell your own kids and grandkids about.” The sort of calmed the tension, and some of the kids and teachers started singing “Happy Birthday” to my best friend, Jeremiah Moore, who turned seven that day. Still there was something scary about the woman.

After an hour or so, a lot of the kids were getting fidgety and some of the real young ones started to edge around the man with the shopping cart. This made him even angrier. Finally he asked a teacher to take some masking tape and mark off a square around him on the floor. “Cross this line of death,” he warned, “and I’ll start shooting the grown-ups. I’ll shoot everyone if I have to!”
Another hour passed with all of us crammed into Mrs. Mitchell’s classroom. The man was acting more and more nervous, like he might explode. Sweat dripped down from his face and his eyes got wild. Then he carefully transferred the string from his wrist to the woman’s and headed toward the bathroom. “I’ll be right back,” he muttered.

Ron
Negotiations dragged on. Clearly, Young knew there was no way his demands could be met and had intended all along on using his shopping-cart bomb. He had combined one jug of gasoline with loose ammunition, powerful blasting caps, flour and aluminum powder. The string attached to his wrist led to a spring-loaded clothespin. If Young pulled the string, the clothespin would snap shut, triggering a battery-operated detonator.

The initial explosion would launch the flour and aluminum powder into the air, igniting the gasoline and triggering a second explosion. In the middle of this deadly hell, hundreds of rounds of ammunition packed into the shopping cart would be set off, sending shrapnel flying in all directions. Admittedly, it was a fiendishly ingenious design, a bomb constructed to inflict maximum terror and bloodshed. But the bomb was as unstable as its maker.

Nathan
I was sitting in the classroom playing with a toy when something made me look up. That’s when I saw the angels. They were shiny, with flowing white robes. Some were holding hands. They glided down through the ceiling, then hung in the air for a second. I felt totally safe. Everyone seemed to have an angel. They came down next to us. My angel was a beautiful shining woman. It was almost as if she landed on my shoulder. She said, “Don’t be scared, Nathan. Get up and go to the window. The bomb is about to go off.” I did just what she said. Other children started doing the same thing. Just then something startled the lady at the front of the classroom. She whirled around.

There was a horrible explosion. Everything turned black. People screamed. Something went off, sounding like a giant string of firecrackers exploding. There were flashes of light and a whirring filled the room. Somebody pulled me down; it was my sister. A teacher helped me crawl through the window. Another teacher caught me and put me on the ground and told me to run away as fast as I could. A crowd of police and others had gathered and I raced across the playground and found my mother.

Ron
On the morning of the fateful day in Cokeville, I had been out of town on assignment. I returned in the afternoon, unaware of the terror unfolding at my children’s school. But as I entered the town I knew something was wrong. My stomach twisted. Cars were backed up and a civil defense worker was directing traffic. I asked what was wrong.
“A bomb went off at the elementary school twenty minutes ago,” she said. In panic and shock I sped to the school. Smoke thickened the air. Everywhere people were weeping. I pushed my way through the throng of cops, townspeople and media folk, looking for my wife, Claudia, and our four children. The local sheriff saw me and told me the kids were fine, but that Claudia had taken them to the hospital to be checked out.

Of the 167 hostages--150 children and 17 adults--quite a few had burns and cuts; Nathan was one of them. Miraculously, none of them had been killed. The same could not be said for David Gary Young and his wife. Both had perished. When the bomb went off, Young had charged from the bathroom, wielding a .45 caliber pistol and a .22 caliber pistol. He fired the .22 at a teacher, John Miller, wounding him in the shoulder. He then raced to the burning classroom, where he found Doris engulfed in flames. Pitifully, she staggered toward him, arms outstretched. Young raised the .45 and fired, killing her. He then went back into the bathroom, pressed the muzzle under his chin and pulled the trigger.

For months I examined the evidence and Young’s numerous diaries--the notebooks he had stacked in the classroom. They told the ghastly story of his madness. After blowing up the school, he believed Doris, the children and he would be reincarnated into a new world where he would lead his charges in paradise.

When my investigation was finally over and all the parts of the awful puzzle had been found, I couldn’t help feeling that a few pieces didn’t fit. For instance, how could so much ammunition go off in a packed room without fatally injuring anyone? Furthermore, the second explosion could have killed everyone instantly. Yet the bomb didn’t explode as intended, even though Young, a man with a high IQ, had rigged it with several blasting caps. We found that one of the lead wires had been inexplicably cut.

Two weeks before the explosion, an unexplained short in the school’s fire alarm system kept setting it off, initiating numerous unplanned fire drills. The children became highly proficient at emergency evacuations.

But for a hard-nosed investigator like me, the angels were the most difficult part to accept. I grilled Nathan about his story, but he never wavered. In fact, two other children said they too had seen angels. They told of glimmering robed figures descending from above, warning of the blast and directing them safely to the windows. Children who had not discussed it among themselves told similar stories.

As I said, I deal in facts. And one hard fact stands out above all the others: 167 people escaped with their lives when the odds against even a fraction of them surviving the cunning wrath of a desperate madman were slim. The conclusion we have all reached in Cokeville is that God sent his angels to rescue our children and keep them from harm.

------
There is also a book(s) that I have on this where they interview the kids who saw the Angels and a movie was made about it in 1994 staring Richard Thomas. I'm watching the movie tomorrow via net flix-for the 2nd time.







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