Friday, February 6, 2009

Miracle on the Hudson! Oh, Really?!?

Miracle: An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.

Let's take a look at this amazing incident. The evidence is still being examined, but it seems quite clear that both of the planes engines were hit by birds. (Poor things!) This was a really unfortunate incident, that is not unheard of, and entirely explained in naturalistic terms (no suspension of the laws of nature is needed to explain how jet engines quit when struck by birds).

Fast forward a few minutes and we come to the actions of the amazing Captain Chesley Sullenberger. A man who has logged massive flight time in both military and civilian aircraft. A man who has spent 30 years or so studying and training flight safety. This highly trained, experiened, and talented pilot 'ditches' the plane in the Hudson river so gently, that the plane suffers almost no damage, the passengers no serious injury. Again, no laws of nature were suspended, the laws governing aerodynamics, fluids, friction, etc. were intact, everything can be explained.

Finally, we can look at the aircraft itself, an Airbus A320. Upon being ditched, it did not crack up into many parts. And it floated. The doors opened just fine. Everything worked fine. Let's hear it for the amazing engineering feat of design that this plane represents! Countless HUMAN hours invested in the many fields of science and engineering allowed such a craft to be built. Do I have to mention that no laws of nature were suspended for this craft to have been designed and built?

Could things have gone differently? Of course, they could've been much worse, that's obvious. Or they could've gone better (could we do more to keep birds from the area?) But this was simply not a Miracle. It was an unlikely event that had a very positive outcome. Congratulations are due to many people, from Captain, flight crew, and rescuers, to the scientists, engineers, and manufacturers of the plane. No God needed for explanation.

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