Bringing the Scientific Method to Magic Crackers

I have long heard claims being made, specifically in the Catholic faith, that during certain ceremonies, when certain propitiations are made, that normal Cracker Bread is changed “literally” into the body of a long dead Jewish Human Male who displayed later Zombie tendencies to refuse to stay in the grave.

There are those of course that claim that the transformation is symbolic not literal, which I have not concerned myself with here as they are essentially saying nothing. I limit my inquiry only to those who claim a literal transformation.

I decide some time ago therefore to investigate over a 2 year period these claims. Since the results of this have been sitting on a shelf for some time I thought it useful to disseminate a short summary of my tests and summary of my results to the internet. The hope is that further testing can be suggested that I might have missed and which I can now take up the mantel again and continue to engage in.

Experimental setup:

As a setup I obtained “normal” and “consecrated” hosts in sufficient numbers and continued to do so over the 2 year period to make sure that I was working with both “fresh” and “dormant” samples. Both are surprisingly easy to obtain as those that have them seem keen to be rid of them.

As the transformation was meant to be into something resembling human flesh I, where possible, also used volunteer skin samples in my tests.

Blind experimentation:

To remove and risk of bias in the experiments I performed ALL experiments in the following fashion. I used 4 cracker samples in all cases.

Sample A: Chosen randomly by me from the “normal” pile.
Sample B: Chosen randomly by me from the “consecrated” pile.
Sample C: Chosen randomly by a third party from either pile without informing me which it was from.
Sample D: Chosen randomly by a third party from the other pile without informing me which it was from.
Sample E: Collection of random skin samples from human volunteers, myself included.

The order of the samples was then hidden and mixed from me by another separate party so that until the results were in I would not know if the results connected to samples A, B, C or D.

Sample summary of Experiments performed:

The samples were then subjected to many tests of which this is a random but not exhaustive sample list:

1 ) Burning tests, testing energy released in burning, burning time, change in mass of sample between before and after burning, color of flame (light wavelengths measured).
2 ) Chemical testing: Disolving in various chemicals and measuring energy releases, mass changes, chemical composition of diluted samples.
3 ) Degradation testing: Observing the differences in samples left to their own devices to measure differences in chemical breakdown due to food “going off” etc.
4 ) Luck testing: Engaged in various tests of luck in the presence of, or following the consumption of Samples from each group. Dice Games. Lottery Ticket use. Guessing Games and much more.
5 ) Emotional testing: Gauged personal subjective impression of mood changes in a group of volunteer subjects in the presence of, or following the consumption of, Samples from each group over 24 hour periods.
6 ) Priest testing: Proffered Samples to a selection of priests who were unable to identify which crackers were “normal” and which were “consecrated”.
7 ) Float testing: Tested the floating properties of each Sample.
8 ) Mass testing: Tested for differences in mass, density and other physical properties between samples, including aerodynamic abilities and resistance to physical stress such as piercing with nails (rusty and normal), tearing, toasting, hammering, bending, stamping and more. It has been suggested to me independently a number of times… seriously by those of a theistical bent, and jokingly by those who are not… that I rename this section the “Torture Testing”.

Summary of Results:

There was in ALL tests absolutely NO difference between the samples at any stage except for minute expected differences in mass between all samples (even internally among each sample group) which are within expected tolerances for normal human food manufacturing variances.

There was in ALL tests NO significant overlap of comparative results between any crackers and any human skin samples.

Conclusion:

There is no basis at this time apparent to support any claims that there is any form of “literal” transformation in the “consecrated” samples.

Further Study:

I still posses a number of samples of each time and am more than happy to engage in further testing should anyone manage to submit a test idea that I have not yet engaged in.

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10 Comments

  1. Gavin Tobin
    Posted 9 February, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Aha you for to check them for magnetism and radiation…

  2. Sceptic
    Posted 12 February, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    This was originally posted by some radical American atheist whose name escapes me. It is puerile, juvenile rubbish and the only reason you have published it, presumably, is to cause grave offence to Roman Catholics and garner yet more publicity for your website (“Look at us..we can say naughty words”). Needless to say, you would not dream of being so blatantly insulting towards Islam.

  3. bipedalhumanoid
    Posted 13 February, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Regarding Islam, complete BS. A quick search of the forum could have told you that. You could start with the thread entitled “Everybody draw Muhammad day”.

    If people don’t want their beliefs ridiculed, they shouldn’t have such silly beliefs.

  4. Sceptic
    Posted 14 February, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I saw the thread but I haven’t seen any actual drawings of Muhammad on this site. Why not publish some given that ridicule of people’s beliefs now seems to be part of the AI agenda? And make them really offensive to Muslims by including women and pigs and so forth in them. After all, Muslims’ beliefs in this regard are “silly” so, by your lights, they are fair game for ridicule in the same way that the Catholics’ “silly” belief in Consecration is.

    Personally, I find such ridicule nothing more than juvenile abuse and a poor substitute for reasoned debate and argument. As an agnostic, I obviously do not have a religious world-view but I have a great respect for religion and especially for the tradition of Christian thought down the centuries and in modern times for the theology of people like Barth, Bultmann, Tillich, Moltmann, Pannenberg, Kung, Schillebeecks, Balthasar, Rahner, etc. (Isn’t it amazing how many such towering intellects have embraced “silly beliefs”?).

    Alas, most atheists haven’t bothered investigating such thinkers and are content instead, like Dawkins (who is theologically ignorant), in setting up straw men which they then knock down. The “cracker bread” article is another example of this. Even a cursory investigation would have shown the author that Catholics do not believe in a literal transformation of the communion bread. But hey, forget what the Church actually teaches, let’s just indulge in some abuse for the hell of it.

    And this is how AI will help further the cause of a rational and ethical society? Count me out.

  5. nozzferrahhtoo
    Posted 15 February, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    “This was originally posted by some radical American atheist whose name escapes me. ”

    Entirely false. This is all my own work, written by me, and I am neither american nor radical to the best of my knowledge. However I think you know that already, which is why you did not back up your false lying claim with either a name, nor a link to the “original” because…. basically…. it does not exist.

  6. Gavin
    Posted 5 June, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    What a childish article again just dumbing it down as New Athiesm does.
    If you are so proud of your article why not add your name to it.
    Sad Sad Sad…….

  7. nozzferrahhtoo
    Posted 13 October, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Actually I have no trouble with people knowing my name. You can find it in seconds using this website or just using Google. Nozzferrahhtoo is just the Handle I used the first day I joined this website and I have seen no reason to change it. I use it all over the net and I enjoy the recognition it receives when people recognise it from reading earlier words from me. My real name likely would not have that effect.

    If however the worst thing you can say about this post is that you do not like how I signed it, then the post is better than I thought.

  8. Lee
    Posted 27 January, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Interesting post. I would like to point out that the Catholic claim is not the “transformation” of the host but the “transubstantiation” of the host. Not the physical form but the substance. The term “substance” is used in its philosophical sense, sub-stance, the essential reality that underlies appearance.

  9. nozzferrahhtoo
    Posted 27 January, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    There appears to be many “catholic claims”. From catholics themselves rather than the church I mean. Some think there is a real physical change, some think it is a metaphysical change and some think that it is all just symbolic. The last claim is just meaningless and says nothing at all. The middle claim is untestable and unfalsifiable nonsense, like a magician waving a wand over an empty hat and claiming to have made an invisible undetectable rabbit appear in it. So I direct my post above at only the first claim as this is the only one that a) says anything and b) is testable at all.

  10. dave
    Posted 25 July, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I see nothing offensive about this article. The author took Catholic beliefs seriously enough to subject them to scientific examination. Isn’t that the height of respect?

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