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Christianity &Science Johnson on 30 Sep 2008 12:48 am

Finally the answer – Why do Christians believe in prayer?

Why do people believe things for which there is no evidence? For example, why do Christians believe in prayer? This video answers the question:

The answer:

In science, you have to keep track of the misses as well as the hits. And that is probably the key lesson in my short talk here. This is how psychics works, astrologers, tarot card readers and so on. People remember the hits and forget the misses. In science we have to keep track of the whole database and look to see if the number of hits stands out from the total number that you would expect by chance.

This is why Christians believe in prayer. If Christians would track the misses as well as the hits, they would immediately see that prayer is a superstition.

Or Christians can try this simple test: Pray to heal an amputee.

If you are an intellectually honest Christian and you would like to learn more about the superstition of prayer, please visit this web site:

Whywontgodhealamputees.com

25 Responses to “Finally the answer – Why do Christians believe in prayer?”

  1. on 30 Sep 2008 at 3:46 am 1.SteveK said …

    “In science we have to keep track of the whole database and look to see if the number of hits stands out from the total number that you would expect by chance.”

    What do you suggest we conclude from the 1000 tests conducted like the one in the video below – which cumulatively stands out from chance?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdOi3s-tBzk

  2. on 30 Sep 2008 at 6:10 am 2.lil tom said …

    steveK,

    you can’t be serious… can you? your suggesting that this man is practicing honest science here?

    statistical deviation from chance is only evidence of a statistical anomaly, or that some unknown variable was causing the deviation from chance.

    reasoning that (1) if a person is psychic, then that individual will do better than chance in experiments, and (2) since that person does better than chance, then, (3) that person must be psychic, would be considered the fallacy of affirming the consequent.

    the problem is that of these “1000 tests” very few are double blinds and few, if any, are replicable.

    if you like sheldrake’s kind of science, you might like this, too:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4abDqLkhlT0

  3. on 30 Sep 2008 at 9:15 am 3.Hermes said …

    lil tom & SteveK, I created a thread in the WWGHA forums based on the last blog post;

    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=1596

  4. on 30 Sep 2008 at 9:19 am 4.Hermes said …

    Lil Tom, that angle video was painful. :(

  5. on 30 Sep 2008 at 9:45 am 5.Hermes said …

    [sp: "angle" ==> "angel"]

    That video is hillarious! The speaker, Michael Shermer, used to be an evangelical. He’s with Skeptic magazine (founder) and is a prolific writer.

  6. on 30 Sep 2008 at 2:43 pm 6.PSR said …

    SteveK,

    “What do you suggest we conclude from the 1000 tests conducted like the one in the video below – which cumulatively stands out from chance?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdOi3s-tBzk

    The fact that you believe this video shows the sloppiness in your thinking. Even in the video you can see how unscientific the technique is. This sloppiness, btw, is why you believe in god as well.

    The video is over a year old. If it were true that Sheldrake had proven telepathy in any form, thousands of scientists would now be studying and understanding the phenomenon. Sheldrake also would have won $1M from James Randi.

    A quick search in Google yields links like these:

    http://www.parapsych.org/papers/21.pdf

    http://calladus.blogspot.com/2006/09/nutty-professor-dr-rupert-sheldrake.html

  7. on 30 Sep 2008 at 2:50 pm 7.PSR said …

    End of Consciousness

  8. on 30 Sep 2008 at 5:44 pm 8.SteveK said …

    nowhere did i say what i thought about the video i linked to. i asked a simple question about how you’d handle the cumulative data and now i know.

  9. on 01 Oct 2008 at 5:21 am 9.lil tom said …

    stevie,

    >i asked a simple question about how you’d handle the cumulative data and now i know.

    right… you now know that you have not shown any “cumulative data”.

    please dig up some cumulative data on crop circles and alien abductions while your at it.

  10. on 01 Oct 2008 at 11:28 pm 10.SteveK said …

    Cumulative meaning a sizeable number of tests.

    Not sure why you are treating my question as if the answer is obvious. You may know a lot about this subject and these tests but I don’t. Your condescending comment has been noted.

  11. on 02 Oct 2008 at 5:30 am 11.lil tom said …

    steveK,
    you certainly are sensitive, aren’t you? you asked “what do you suggest we conclude from the 1000 tests conducted like the one in the video below?” and the obvious answer was that the *one* test you provided was made-for-tv, rubbish science. granted, there *are* several parapsychologists who abide by the rigors of science and there are some curious, albeit non-conclusive findings. if there really were thousands of double blind experiments showing that esp was a fact of life, then there would be little reason to question all the loonies out there, but the reality is that there have been *zero* repeatable, certifiably non-fraudulent, double blind studies of such phenomenon.

  12. on 02 Oct 2008 at 7:47 am 12.Anonymous said …

    So you believe that you can place limits on God?
    Just because we pray he has to answer? Your line of thinking warps the truth of the matter. Let me illustrate:

    I was hit by a drunk driver in 2003 and when I awoke from a nearly 2 month coma and seeing the car I came from, became a Christian.
    My ex had left me for another man while I was in a coma and took my 3 month old son with her. After leaving him and finding another, repeating the process 4 times, she moved him out of the state. So, I prayed to God that when I went to court he would give me my son so that he could be raised in a Christian household. Well, I lost the court case, and didn’t get my son so that means the prayer wasn’t answered right?
    Well, 2 years later I find out that my ex became a Christian and now my son is being raised in a Christian home.. while it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, my prayer was answered.

    Your ‘proofs’ all attempt to proclaim a truth while only portraying one side of every coin you examine. One day, every person will fall to their knees and proclaim he is God. Don’t be the one who didn’t find him before that happens!

  13. on 02 Oct 2008 at 6:28 pm 13.Hermes said …

    Anonymous: “So you believe that you can place limits on God?
    Just because we pray he has to answer? Your line of thinking warps the truth of the matter.”

    [delete personal anecdote]

    We read your book, your book says things, Christians say your book is the word of your deity, your book says that your deity will grant prayers. Prayers aren’t granted for amputees.

    What can we conclude? Either your book is wrong or your deity doesn’t exist. If your book is wrong, how do you know anything about your deity?

    PS. Pascal’s Wager is invalid and is a joke to most non-Christians. Do a search of the net for it and see for yourself where even theologians in your own religion discard it.

  14. on 02 Oct 2008 at 9:48 pm 14.SteveK said …

    “granted, there *are* several parapsychologists who abide by the rigors of science and there are some curious, albeit non-conclusive findings.”

    This is good, and is pretty much the way I think about these things. I’m not rushing to say anything has been proved, but I’m also not dismissing it like some do just because it has the word ‘telepathy’ associated with it.

    “you certainly are sensitive, aren’t you?”

    Not sensitive at all. Just trying to keep it civil… you freakin’ scum bag (just kidding).

  15. on 02 Oct 2008 at 11:59 pm 15.Crowned Messenger said …

    Thanks for your welcome and your site.
    Why do you compare me with mankind? Are men’s ways the measure you measure me with? Religion grieves me. Men thinking they can achieve perfection. Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about? Pull yourself together! Up on your feet! Stand tall! I have some questions for you, and I want some straight answers.
    Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much! Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that! Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
    Do you know where Light comes from and where Darkness lives so you can take them by the hand and lead them home when they get lost? Why, of course you know that. You’ve known them all your life, grown up in the same neighborhood with them!
    Can you catch the eye of the beautiful Pleiades sisters, or distract Orion from his hunt?
    Can you get Venus to look your way, or get the Great Bear and her cubs to come out and play? Do you know the first thing about the sky’s constellations and how they affect things on Earth?
    Can you get the attention of the clouds, and commission a shower of rain? Can you take charge of the lightning bolts and have them report to you for orders?
    I have some more questions for you, and I want straight answers. Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong? Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint? Do you have an arm like my arm? Can you shout in thunder the way I can?
    Go ahead, show your stuff. Let’s see what you’re made of, what you can do.
    Now what do you have to say for yourself? Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges? Would you not love your own children enough to say “no” to danger? Would you not teach them truth about the plans of selfish people, who believe they are right and excuse themselves from any responsibility?
    I’ve had it with your religious pursuits. You practice them daily; testing, evaluating, comparing, as if you are perfection it’s self. Why do you not learn from your own history? Your “ideas” and “theories” change year to year, if not daily. Your children’s school books have been revised throughout time. What are you looking for? Is truth painful? Is light too revealing, or do you continue to deny it exists?
    You haven’t been honest with each other, with me, or about me. Your so-called “tests” can neither prove nor disprove who you really are. Not to mention what you are really surrounded by, or where your very thoughts come from. You are restricted and vulnerable. Why promote yourselves when you had nothing to do with your own birth?
    Why do you compare me with mankind’s behavior? Are men’s ways the measure you measure me with? Look around, see what your so-called “logic” has wrought. There is a cure.
    Have a nice day. I love you so please quit acting so knowledgeable when you are but a youth in time.

    P.S. Are you sure you really exist? Are you sure or is all you see an illusion? Do you really see at all? Prove it if you can and I’ll believe you.
    And yes, I heal everyone who respectfully asks, yet you refuse to admit where the healing is needed most or you refuse the cure.
    Please be careful with your intellect. It has caused all of you problems.

  16. on 03 Oct 2008 at 12:49 am 16.surej said …

    huh bro, actually what do you want to prove? that god does not exist..i guess u must be darwins gandchild , i sure hope that you wont end up doing what he did in the end…refrain while u have time

  17. on 03 Oct 2008 at 4:56 am 17.lil tom said …

    steveK,

    >This is good, and is pretty much the way I think about these things. I’m not rushing to say anything has been proved, but I’m also not dismissing it like some do just because it has the word ‘telepathy’ associated with it.

    the vast majority of any findings have been shown to be fraudulent. you’re okay with this?
    we *do* have the capacity to determine whether these “1000s of tests” hold up. yet you would rather not know… very telling. your arrogant comment has been noted…

  18. on 04 Oct 2008 at 7:04 pm 18.SteveK said …

    the vast majority of any findings have been shown to be fraudulent. you’re okay with this?

    Fradulent findings don’t determine the truth-value of the unknown ones. I’m not into believing the gambler’s fallacy I guess.

    we *do* have the capacity to determine whether these “1000s of tests” hold up. yet you would rather not know… very telling.

    Of course I’d like to know – assuming it’s even possible to know. I never said otherwise. Your false assumption has been noted…

  19. on 04 Oct 2008 at 10:27 pm 19.Hermes said …

    Let’s be clear. Support for unsupported claims rests on the claimant not those who are not convinced.

    In common conversations …

    * The default position on usual claims (seen in normal life) is to accept them provisionally, tentitively.

    * The default position on un-usual claims (not seen in normal life) is to not accept them till support is provided and then to accept them provisionally, tentitively.

    So, conversations about what each of us had for breakfast would be accepted to the point that they became unusual. For example, if you said that you had eggs for breakfast, I’d say “OK, how were they?” If you replied “It took me 45 minutes just to eat them — dodo eggs are huge!” I’d be justified in not believing you had dodo eggs for breakfast. If you clarified it and said that “dodo eggs” meant ostrich eggs and the restaurant had a theme that made sense to call them “dodo eggs” then I’d think that was unusual but that it was possible.

    It may be that neither of us had eggs this morning — ostrich or chicken — but both are in the realm of possibilities with chicken eggs being the more likely of the two.

    In the case of telepathy and other PSI claims, the claimant is making claims that they had dragon eggs for breakfast — and they literally mean dragon eggs (as in the winged reptile that breathes fire) not komodo dragon eggs or any other substitute.

    If they have proof, they can provide it. If they just make claims without proof and with no way to verify the results, they do deserve to be laughed at.

  20. on 04 Oct 2008 at 11:12 pm 20.SteveK said …

    “In the case of telepathy and other PSI claims, the claimant is making claims that they had dragon eggs for breakfast — and they literally mean dragon eggs (as in the winged reptile that breathes fire) not komodo dragon eggs or any other substitute.”

    Your analogy doesn’t work. Though I readily admit that evidence to date *doesn’t* prove (in the scientific sense) the telepathy claim, you can’t say there is NO evidence to support this very common claim.

    Ironically, science thinks telepathy claims are worth invesigating/testing precisely because so many people claim it is true – which means it IS a very usual claim. Kind of like the claim of free will and the existence of the self, both very usual claims. Why would science spend precious time/money investigating these claims if there was NO reason to do it? It wouldn’t.

    In your example, science wouldn’t bother looking into the unusual claim of eating dragon eggs because there’s no reason to think the claim is true. This is not the case with telepathy – because it’s not that unusual a claim – and it’s why your analogy doesn’t work.

  21. on 04 Oct 2008 at 11:24 pm 21.Hermes said …

    The claims have not been substantiated to the level that they are unusual. Thus, they should not be accepted even by advocates as true till they are shown to be true. Period.

    BTW…I did not mention science.

  22. on 04 Oct 2008 at 11:29 pm 22.Hermes said …

    Note: I don’t give a damn about PSI claims for the same reason why I don’t give a damn about other extreme claims that remain unsupported. If you are interested in that, spend your time on those issues and then get them published somewhere with credibility.

    If this seems harsh, just ask yourself why PSI claims should be given special treatment — be given a green light past any analysis — when other less extreme claims require quite a bit of analysis and verification.

  23. on 05 Oct 2008 at 2:39 pm 23.SteveK said …

    “The claims have not been substantiated to the level that they are unusual.”

    We can debate what constitutes usual vs. unusual for hours so I’d rather focus on what is actually going on. What is actually going on, in scientific and social circles, is the investigation of claims thought to be worthy of investigation *because* there IS good reason to investigate. You can label these claims as unusual and unsupported all you like but that doesn’t change the fact that experts in various fields are taking them seriously.

    “Thus, they should not be accepted even by advocates as true till they are shown to be true. Period.”

    I agree. Likewise, they should not be accepted by pseudoskeptics as FALSE till they are shown to be false. Right now there are good reasons to think some might be true – which is why we continue to investigate.

    “I don’t give a damn about PSI claims for the same reason why I don’t give a damn about other extreme claims that remain unsupported. If you are interested in that, spend your time on those issues and then get them published somewhere with credibility.”

    I give a damn because I’m interested in learning the truth. Maybe we will never know the truth though.

  24. on 05 Oct 2008 at 3:27 pm 24.Hermes said …

    I’m done answering old blog posts here.

    If you want to continue with this, join the forums;

    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php

  25. on 06 Oct 2008 at 3:00 am 25.lil tom said …

    forums schmorums.

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