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Religious faith is the opposite of scientific investigation. Faith says, don't confuse me with the facts, I already have all the answers, I can't hear you, lalalalalala, going to go pray now. Science says, what is this? How does this work? How can that be made to work better? What ideas do you have about this?

The most mind-numbing part for me, aside from the hypocrisy of denying science while using it every single day, is that religion already had its chance to prove itself for thousands of years, all over the world. It's as if the first 10,000 years or so of human civilization was an empirical test of religious truth.

And the test produced nothing. Religion,prayer, etc, have never shown any positive results anywhere on the planet. Okay, you can stretch it and say that global religion helped to produce some beautiful buildings, art, literature and music. And some religions encourage healthy living and meditation. But you can't even say that those things can exist only where there is religion, and certainly not due to any particular religion or god.

An atheist or Hindu Mozart would still have been a musical genius; even repressive societies like communist China, Cuba and Soviet Russia have produced incredible musicians, without religious assistance or influence.

If Michaelangelo had not painted the Sistine Chapel for the pope, he would probably have painted some equally pretty pictures on some other building. Religious leaders like popes have helped produce lots of nice stuff in the past because they have controlled a lot of their community's resources.

But as far as helping us to understand the world and how it works, you have to go way beyond religion. Science, during only the past 200 years or so, with virtually no help from religion, has actually improved living conditions for people, making it possible to feed, clothe, house, educate and entertain (however imperfectly) the 7 billion people on the planet.

Why even bother to improve things? Especially if diseases, disasters etc. are just assumed to be god's will. If religion, prayer, etc, could have cured smallpox and syphilis, it would not have taken until the middle of the 20th century (and the efforts of thousands of people using science) to do it.
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