It's something else. Metacrock's opinion about Lourdes. Not what it really is.
Care to supply a statement from an official source in the Vatican to tell us what the purpose of those investigations is, then?
I agree with you. The branch is not based on that.
Nevertheless, before finding the Higgs particle in the LHC, did this branch (in our case Particle Physics) study something that might exist (the Higgs Boson)? What were those study based on if it's not "things that do exist"?
The purpose of particle physics is to study what actually exists, not to study things that might exist. Until the Higgs boson was shown to exist with actual physical evidence, it could not be studied via particle physics. The purpose of the investigation into it was not to 'study' it, but to find evidence of it so that it could then be studied. Statements like this demonstrate that you don't really understand the purpose of the Higgs boson investigations and thus that claims you make about it cannot be taken seriously.
It would be like proposing a biological study of unicorns or leprechauns when there are no specimens to actually study. At best, such a 'study' would be speculative. Now, there is a place for speculation in science, but you cannot perform a study on speculated data, because there is no way to verify whether the speculations are correct or not. It is only when you find hard physical evidence on something that you can study it.
I'll say it again
"Particle Physics allows the study of something that might exist (HB) based on something that do exist"
"Theology allows the study of something that might exist (God) based on something that do exist."
Do you have any counter argument that could withstand critics? Or do you accept that these phrases are true?
I demonstrated above that your phrases cannot be true. Particle physics does not allow the study of things that might exist based on things that do exist. No branch of science can do this. What science can do is investigate something that might exist in order to find hard physical evidence of it which can then be studied. If you do not find that hard evidence, then you cannot study it. For example, we cannot study what happened at the moment of the Big Bang because we have no evidence of what happened at that moment.
This is a report on the actual process undertaken at Lourdes: http://www.economist.com/node/304212
According to Dr. Patrick Theillier, the head of the Medical Bureau, here is the actual process used to investigate healings at Lourdes.
First, they have a series of standards that must be met: the original disease must be incapacitating, with a sure and precise diagnosis; the cure must be sudden, instantaneous, and without convalescence; it must not come from medical treatment, and must permanently restore normal normal function to the beneficiary. Psychiatric conditions are excluded because diagnoses are too uncertain and recoveries are too hard to assess (in effect, these are too subjective to be investigated). Only if these standards are met is it investigated.
Second, the patient is examined by one of the doctors of the Medical Bureau, in consultation with their attending doctors, and the patient's regular doctor is also consulted.
Third, the patient is told to return in one year with their medical records so those can be investigated by an association of doctors resident in Lourdes for three years. Assuming none of them can find a medical cause for the cure, it is passed up to the international medical committee of 20 doctors, who do additional tests and examinations and then put the matter to a vote of the committee. Notably, this is not to determine whether it is a miracle or not; it is solely to determine if the cure surpasses normal medical expectations in ways which cannot be accounted for by scientific understanding.
I have no problem with acknowledging that these investigations are scientific up to this point. As the article describes, this is actually a sort of inverse peer review; instead of looking for a sound scientific basis for the cases and discarding anomalies, they discard the cases that have a sound scientific basis, leaving only the anomalies for review. If it were left at this point, where the anomalies were recommended for further study to try to figure out what actually happened in that case, I would have no problem at all with considering it scientific.
However, it is what they do next that I contend is not scientific. They pass the anomalies on to non-scientists - specifically, the bishop of the patient's diocese and his theological councilors - to check whether the cure has any spiritual significance for the beneficiary and witnesses, and whether it reinforced their faith in God. However, note above that they exclude things like psychiatric conditions specifically because they are too subjective to investigate scientifically. So, too, this spiritual significance and faith in God that are used as the final benchmark are too subjective to investigate scientifically. In short, this final step of the investigation cannot be scientific because it involves factors which science cannot possibly investigate.
In short, scientists are in no way involved in actually determining whether the cure was miraculous or not, and the criteria used for that are too subjective to be examined by science in any case. Therefore, the determination whether a given cure is miraculous is not scientific, even though science is used to exclude cases where medical science can explain what happened. In order for an investigation to be scientific, it must be scientific all the way through. The investigations at Lourdes are not; they are only scientific to the point where the international medical committee votes on whether they can be explained or not.