Science vs The Miracle of Fatima

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kdi8133630's picture
Science vs The Miracle of Fatima

*** Summary of Professor Auguste Meessen's Thesis (Title: Apparitions and Miracles of the Sun, Reference link: ***

The Miracle of Fátima (the Miracle of the Sun) was an optical effect caused by looking at the sun for a time.

Retinal after-images cause dancing effects.

Bleaching of photosensitive retinal cells causes usually temporary damage and is responsible for the flashes of colour.


*** Refutation of catholic apologist (Author of the reference link –> ***

In the reports from eyewitnesses in Fatima, the miracle of the sun lasted not seconds, but minutes, and perhaps as long as “ten minutes.”

Eyewitnesses stated that the clouds had broken and “the sun at its zenith appeared in all its splendor,” and so onlookers were staring directly at the sun.

To stare at the bare sun at noon for even a minute—if that were even possible—would likely have been enough to cause permanent eye damage in at least a few people.

But out of tens of thousands of people, there were no reports of a single person having incurred eye damage, let alone blindness. (On the other hand, this has occurred at some alleged Marian apparition sites where certain people have gone looking for a miracle).

Professor Meesen’s logic further falls apart by stating that the dancing effects of the sun were merely the result of retinal after-images.

If that were the case, then the miracle of the sun witnessed at Fatima should be easily duplicated in your own backyard.

In fact, to be certain, the thousands gathered that day would have looked up at the sun later that afternoon and in the days following to see if the miracle would repeat.

If the “miracle” that October 13th was only the result of retinal images or “the bleaching of photosensitive retinal cells,” the skeptics and secular newspapers who had earlier been ridiculing the three shepherd children would surely have pointed this out.

The aftermath of excitement would have quickly dissipated as people began to readily duplicate “retinal after-images.”

The opposite is true. Eyewitnesses described the sight as a “prodigy,” something “incapable of describing,” and a “remarkable spectacle.”

What is remarkable about something that one could easily duplicate an hour later?


Nickell also suggests that the dancing effects witnessed at Fatima may have been due to optical effects resulting from temporary retinal distortion caused by staring at such an intense light. —Skeptical Inquirer, Volume 33.6 November / December 2009


In no cases do we read of any eyewitnesses reporting lingering optical effects.

The prodigy seemed to simply end when the sun, after appearing to zig-zag to the earth, resumed its normal course; eyewitnesses reported that the phenomenon lasted only so long and then abruptly ended.

However, if Nickell’s explanation were true, the retinal distortion should have continued as long as people continued to stare at the sun… an hour, three hours, all day long.

This contradicts reports that indicate that the miracle had a definitive ending.

Furthermore, eyewitnesses specifically noted that the sun did not appear as an ‘intense light,’ but rather it appeared “pale and did not hurt my eyes” and “enveloped in… gauzy grey light” and began to emit “multicolored flashes of light, producing the most astounding effect.”

It is worth noting that during an eclipse of the sun, or when the sun is under thick cloud covering, it can be looked at without any perceived discomfort.

However, in these cases the sun is blocked by another object, and in fact, can still cause serious and permanent harm.


What’s wrong with this refutation of catholic apologist? This is what I really wonder.

I would appreciate if you would comment on my question.

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David Killens's picture
Extraordinary claims require

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

It is incumbent on the claimant that a "miracle" occurred. I do not have to disprove anything.

Three very young children claimed that the virgin Mary would appear and perform miracles. No virgin Mary, at best something going on in the sky.

What were the weather conditions on that day? Cloudy, rain?

Dumbass god and Mary. If they exist(ed) and wanted to put on a show, it was definitely underwhelming. If I was god and wanted to put on a miracle, it would be spectacular and would leave no doubt I did it.

sota, you do not have to disprove anything, the claimant has to provide enough evidence to convince you.

Cognostic's picture
RE: Eyewitnesses were not

RE: Eyewitnesses were not reliable: "Not everyone reported the same thing; some present claimed they saw the sun dance around the heavens; others said the sun zoomed toward Earth in a zigzag motion that caused them to fear that it might collide with our planet (or, more likely, burn it up). Some people reported seeing brilliant colors spin out of the sun in a psychedelic, pinwheel pattern, and thousands of others present didn't see anything unusual at all."

What you have from the Catholic Church and Catholics is the same bullshit you have with Sister Theresa, a complete case of ignoring any and all facts that contradict the narrative the religious want to believe.

If the sun did any of these thing we would probably not be here today. It's as idiotic as the entire world clouded in darkness at the crucifixion. Utterly and completely 'LUDICROUS."

LUCIA: A known story teller who was an imaginative girl who influenced her suggestible younger cousins.

Mild Religious Hysteria:
There was likely an element of mild mass hysteria involved, where one person sees something and gets excited about it, and others feed off it and start seeing similar things themselves.


DO YOU BELIEVE IN UFOs? Using the exact same logic as Fatima, you have to. You must believe people are being abducted, cattle are being mutilated and crop circles are actually communication from higher order beings. I can introduce you to eye witnesses that are alive today. (IF THIS IS ALL YOU GOT = YOU GOT NOTHING.)

Sheldon's picture
We know natural phenomena

We know natural phenomena exist as an objective fact, and no evidence has ever been demonstrated for magic. So I always fail to see how not yet knowing the natural explanation of an event justifies claiming magic was involved.

Also what kind of cunt fucks around with magic tricks we can't understand, but sits idly by while millions of children die annually in pain, while their parents watch helpless, if it were true such a deity would be an amoral monster.

David Killens's picture
Even if the actions in the

Even if the actions in the sky were real, what is the connection between those supposed events and a god? Just because some children said so?

When one examines a phenomena with a rational mind and the scientific process, each conclusion must be born out of connecting the links.

This story is one huge god of the gaps fallacy.

If I stated that the next powerful storm will have thunder and lightning, and that it was caused by god, when it happened is that proof of a god?

Calilasseia's picture
Ah, the Fatima nonsense.

Ah, the Fatima nonsense.

One of the problems therewith, being that if the Sun was actually performing the acrobatics asserted to have taken place there, this would have been visible across the entire daytime side of the planet. Yet no mention of any strange behaviour on the part of the Sun can be found in relevant newspaper archives, and for that matter, no reports by astronomers extant at the time in any scientific journals can be found. Plus, astronomers not only had access to telescopes, but to cameras in 1917, including the first movie cameras. I'm pretty sure that said movie cameras would have been deployed quickly if the Sun was observed behaving strangely.

But there's even more fun and games to consider. Namely, that if the asserted acrobatics had indeed taken place, then either the Sun or the Earth would have been moving through space at speeds many times faster than light. A certain Mr. A. Einstein and his deliberations exert an impact here.

Furthermore, if the Earth was the moving object, not the Sun, every living thing on the planet would now be dead. Courtesy of the fact that the ferocious accelerations involved, would have left life forms on the rearward facing part of the planet finding themselves suddenly suspended in the vacuum of space, as the planet leapt forwards under the influence of several trillion g's of acceleration. Meanwhile, life forms on the forward facing part of the planet would have been converted into so much squashed ravioli by the enormous accelerative forces. Any birds flying overhead at the time would have impacted the planet with enough force to trigger nuclear fusion reactions with the ground they hit.

Even if we assume that all of this hilarity was the product of the sudden and magical appearance of an Alcubierre warp bubble, which would leave the Earth in a locally flat spacetime and eliminate the accelerative effects with respect to that locally flat spacetime, the visual effects arising from the passage of light through the boundary of the warp bubble would have been supremely weird to behold, and again, would not be restricted from an observational standpoint, to a small collection of mythology-addled supernaturalists on one small part of the planet. The visual effects would not only be globally visible, but would have been so bizarre to experience, that they would have been news headline material for months around the world. That's before, of course, those astronomers and other scientists stepped in to ask what was going on, and start delivering details of their investigations and hypotheses.

For example, one would anticipate that said acrobatics, if they affected the Earth's motion instead of the motion of the Sun, would result in some very strange visual phenomena indeed. Observers at the forward part of the Earth would observe visible light being blueshifted all the way to the gamma ray part of the spectrum, while long wavelength radio waves would be blueshifted to the visible light part of the spectrum. Observers on the rearward facing part of the Earth, would instead, observe gamma ray photons being redshifted to visible light wavelengths, and visible light redshifted to long radio wavelengths. The resulting firework display would be globally visible, and the resulting visual wackiness would be simply too conspicuous to be ignored anywhere on the planet.

The complete absence of the visual wackiness I've just described, plus the impossibility of either the Sun or the Earth moving through space at several thousand times the speed of light, pretty much wraps it up for this drivel.

Whitefire13's picture
Cali ...” resulting firework

Cali ...” resulting firework display would be globally visible, and the resulting visual wackiness would be simply too conspicuous to be ignored anywhere on the planet.”

For me, it all boiled down to this simple statement.

NOW that would have been a miracle....and some form of measurable effect

algebe's picture


Religions and gods don't cause extraordinary phenomena. They are dreamed up by ignorant people to explain extraordinary phenomena, like lightning, earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanic eruptions. Fatima is explained by mass hysteria fanned by wishful thinking.

Try standing in a park looking up at the sky. Pretty soon other people will come over to see what you're looking at. Then start a whisper that someone saw a flying saucer. Then go home and watch the evening news.

boomer47's picture




Imo Fatima is less credible than the Angels of Mons.** However, I guess it's hard to quantify levels of zero credibility---for the same reason; lack of credible evidence. At Mons for example, photos would haven been nice. There are none of which I'm aware---I'll just do a quick Google-----Found heaps of drawn and painted images, mostly only peripherally relevant, but not one photo.--- I think i'll continue to hold my disbelief.

Interesting that at both Lourdes and Fatima the virgin chose to appear to young, pious and apparently not real bright peasant children. If I was a cynic I might think the apparitions were demonstration of an appalling depth of religious conditioning. The cult of the virgin Mary*** is still very powerful today in [the poorer] parts the Catholic world.

**The Angels of Mons is a story of the reputed appearance of a supernatural entity which protected the British Army from defeat by the invading forces of the II Reich at the beginning of World War 1 during the Battle of Mons in Belgium on 23 August 1914.

*** Reference; "Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary"
by Marina Warner.

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secundine's picture
There has never been any

There has never been any proof of magic, yet we know for sure that natural occurrences exist. Therefore, I never understand how saying magic was involved when the natural answer is still unknown is acceptable.
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Also, what kind of deity engages in inexplicable magic acts while watching helplessly as millions of children die each year from pain? If this were indeed the case, this god would be amoral.

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