Pharyngula

I had no idea…

D. James Kennedy, head mackerel of Coral Ridge Ministries, had a very serious heart attack last month. He seems to be recovering now, and let’s all wish him well and encourage him to relax, enjoy the rest of his life, and stop standing up in pulpits and lying.

Strangely enough, though, this opponent of godless naturalism and materialism didn’t trust in prayer and faith when physiological catastrophe struck—instead, he took advantage of the best and latest medical care. Funny, that…do you think he had a deathbed conversion? There are no theistic heart attack patients—they’re all clutching for the defibrillator, the pills, the expert medical assistance before they’ll rely on that ineffectual immaterial ghost in the sky.

Comments

  1. #1 Greg Laden
    January 28, 2007

    PZ, I had never considered that twist of words before. How does the saying usually go: There are no atheists in the foxhole? But you are right, there are no Theists in Intensive Care. Especially the Christian Science kind.

  2. #2 wolfwalker
    January 28, 2007

    Reminds me of the story of the minister in the flood. Except that this time, the joke is on the teller.

    Tell me, PZ, do you ever care that these infantile anti-religious snarks make you look like a jerk and convince sensible people that you have nothing to say that’s worth listening to?

    Didn’t think so.

  3. #3 df
    January 28, 2007

    Tell us, wolfwalker, do you also castigate the religious for making infantile, pro-religious snarks like “There are no atheists in foxholes?” Because if you don’t then you yourself have nothing to say that is worth listening to.

  4. #4 Jason
    January 28, 2007

    wolfwalker,

    When something important and tangible is at stake, like their own health, theists suddenly find excuses for dumping faith and prayer and other religious nonsense in favor of science and reason. Funny, that. One is tempted to conclude that all their blather about the importance of faith in other contexts is just that—blather. When they stand to actually lose something that is important to them, they transform into hard-headed rationalists.

  5. #5 S E E Quine
    January 28, 2007

    ` I like it when people don’t have anything to say that’s worth listening to, but other people take them more seriously than anything else. It makes me giggle.

  6. #6 Kyle
    January 28, 2007

    Why is it, whenever fundamentalists are taken to task about their previous claims, they start complaining about the tone of the message instead of actually addressing its substance?

    This is especially incongruous when one considers all the nasty things that fundamentalists say about atheists (e.g. atheists are incapable of morality, comparisons with Nazis). If a cutting but fully accurate remark is inappropriate, then surely a dishonest and fallacious remark would be inappropriate as well. Yet fundamentalists don’t ever seem to consider this the case.

  7. #7 Caledonian
    January 28, 2007

    Why is it, whenever fundamentalists are taken to task about their previous claims, they start complaining about the tone of the message instead of actually addressing its substance?

    Many of them have no way to detect the substance of the message; the rest of them can, but don’t think that substance is important. When dealing with people who can’t detect substance, which is more important: substance or tone? Since they’re skilled at manipulating people, they concern themselves with the things that lend to manipulation. Substance is far too substantive for their tastes.

  8. #8 Kristine
    January 28, 2007

    How is the “joke on the teller”? I don’t think anyone’s joking here. Do you really think no matter how snarky it can get at Pharyngula that PZ has “nothing to say that’s worth listening to”? You’re still coming here, aren’t you?

    Don’t you think we ever think about the future and how we’re going to see our opponents as well as our friends start getting older and having health problems? I think about it and I’m sure that PZ does. Speaking for me, I see how Dawkins isn’t getting any younger and there’s William Dembski with his Dawkins fixation. (Yes, fixation.) What is Dembski going to say when Dawkins goes? Boy have I thought about that. Is Dembski going to gloat? I’ve cringed thinking about that and hope that that’s not the case. In fact, maybe Dembski will realize how much Dawkins really means to him then (because there’s some father-figure thing going on there, I think).

    And certainly I hope that no one I pick on in the ID movement thinks for one minute that I would be gleeful in turn. As I’ve said before, you can’t have an ongoing fight with someone without developing some relationship to and connection with them.

    How many times do I hear that “doctors/scientists/whoever” are “playing God” (like they’re creating atoms out of the air or something)? How many times is that flip, finger-shaking condemnation thrown around? Is that fair? “They don’t have all the answers!” Well, duh–but they have a lot of answers. What was it that Ted Haggard said to Richard Dawkins one year before Haggard resigned his post in utter disgrace: “You scientists should not be arrogant.” I think PZ is trying to make a point here.

    I bet D. James Kennedy and anyone who cares about him (or who just cares about other human beings) are glad that doctors and scientists had at least this one answer. But then, people thank God. How about thanking the doctors and scientists, too? How about that, instead of making them into ogre and monsters who hate America or something? How about it?

  9. #9 Gerard Harbison
    January 28, 2007

    Exactly.

    Almost everyone born since about 1900 has been a naturalist. Some of us are 100%, consistent, sincere naturalists. And some are 99% naturalists, who throw in a little prayer, to hedge their bets as it were, but then because of that 1%, claim they are not naturalists at all.

  10. #10 Mike Haubrich
    January 28, 2007

    My own Dad is getting back home from a hospital visit today. He had a heart problem, too. He has for a few years now and it seems to be a defective valve. Problem is, that the valve replacement surgery may be more dangerous than the condition he has so he is probably stuck with it.

    But all the people that tell me that they have been praying for him haven’t made any progress, either. The tachychardia (racing heart) was reduced by drugs and electricity so that he has had a normal heart rate for since yesterday. I, for one, trust the doctors more than the priest to take care of his heart.

  11. #11 Tukla in Iowa
    January 28, 2007

    and convince sensible people that you have nothing to say

    You need to proofread, WW. You completely misspelled “deluded”.

  12. #12 davis
    January 28, 2007

    I notice that the article mentions prayer three times, but nothing about the doctors who saved his life. Fuckers.

    Joe Louis once said everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

    Kennedy deserves nothing but snark. He’s dishonest and takes money from people who can’t afford it. And don’t tell me about the comfort they may get. They deserve the truth. Prayer will get them nothing. Not a better job, not better health. Nothing.

  13. #13 Andy Groves
    January 28, 2007

    There are no theistic heart attack patients–they’re all clutching for the defibrillator, the pills, the expert medical assistance before they’ll rely on that ineffectual immaterial ghost in the sky.

    I bet you they’re praying too.

  14. #14 Jonathan Badger
    January 28, 2007

    When they stand to actually lose something that is important to them, they transform into hard-headed rationalists.

    Sometimes. Other times that’s when people become considerably less rational — think of all the people who when faced with life threatening illness throw away their savings on bogus “alternative medicine” that in a more rational state of mind they would be inclined to correctly dismiss as snake oil. More generally, crisis causes people to become inconsistent — rationalists often try woo, spiritualists often try reason.

  15. #15 Hank Fox
    January 28, 2007

    What is Dembski going to say when Dawkins goes?

    From Dembski and the godder crowd, I guarantee it will be something pious and condescending, and the lot of them will SMILE about it: “Let’s all pray for the damned soul – ha-ha! – of this sinful man.”

    Strangely enough, though, this opponent of godless naturalism and materialism didn’t trust in prayer and faith when physiological catastrophe struck–instead, he took advantage of the best and latest medical care. Funny, that…do you think he had a deathbed conversion?

    As to the snark factor, if the goddy side of the argument were only saying words, that would be one thing. But no, a good number of them are actively, aggressively, trying to corrupt teaching, injure science, and hamstring vital medical research.

    The snark is entirely theirs. Evangelist Ted Haggard campaigned actively against gays and equal rights, all while regularly playing with guys on the side. When he got found out, he got sympathy from neither side. He reaped the culture of hate he had personally sown.

    PZ, thank you. The point can’t be made often enough:

    There are no theistic heart attack patients–they’re all clutching for the defibrillator, the pills, the expert medical assistance before they’ll rely on that ineffectual immaterial ghost in the sky.

    I still think that if someone dislikes medical research so much, they should sign a binding contract saying they won’t ever allow its discoveries to be used on them.

  16. #16 Jason
    January 28, 2007

    Jonathan Badger,

    People tend to embrace “alternative medicine” only when conventional medicine does not offer a proven or effective treatment.

  17. #17 PZ Myers
    January 28, 2007

    There was no snark at all in my comment! I’m entirely sincere — I hope Kennedy gets well and lives a long, happy life…on the golf course.

    I’m sure Kennedy and his friends and family also prayed, but the point is that they may hope for divine assistance, but they also know that the only salvation they’ll find on this earth is in the hands of good doctors.

  18. #18 Marc
    January 28, 2007

    Albert Mohler, the head of the Southern Baptist Seminary here in Louisville, is also recovering from a serious illness. Like Kennedy, he took advantage of the best available medical care, then proclaimed, “I just must believe that God is in absolute control over all things.” Apparently he doesn’t see the irony in making that statement after major surgery and weeks in the hospital. (See http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007701270442.)

    Since taking over the Seminary he was turned a once respectable moderate institution into essentially a Baptist madrassa, replacing almost 100% of the faculty. He got rid of the entire School of Social Work because the Code of Ethics of the accrediting agency for schools of social work forbids discrimination against gays, and fired a librarian just months away from retirement because of a letter he wrote to another prominent Baptist conservative. You see him on TV sometimes.

    He claims to believe in the innerancy of the Bible, but apparently prayer and anointing with oil won’t cut it when HIS life is at stake.

  19. #19 Retired Catholic
    January 28, 2007

    Christ on a crutch! Only the godless could as cruel as you, sir!

  20. #20 waldteufel
    January 28, 2007

    Talibangelists like Kennedy deserve no more respect than a gin-soaked carnival barker.

    No offense meant toward carnies.

  21. #21 tomh
    January 28, 2007

    Emily Dickinson put it nicely, 150 years ago:

    Faith is a fine invention
    For gentlemen who see;
    But microscopes are prudent
    In an emergency.

  22. #22 junk science
    January 28, 2007

    There are no theistic heart attack patients–they’re all clutching for the defibrillator, the pills, the expert medical assistance before they’ll rely on that ineffectual immaterial ghost in the sky.

    God helps those who help themselves, conveniently enough for him.

  23. #23 Kristine
    January 28, 2007

    From Dembski and the godder crowd, I guarantee it will be something pious and condescending, and the lot of them will SMILE about it: “Let’s all pray for the damned soul – ha-ha! – of this sinful man.”

    I really hope you’re wrong. But I could see that happening. And if those folks react like that then they are the ones who have “nothing to say that’s worth listening to.”

    Maybe they themselves should model the behavior that they would like to see “the Darwinists” emulate. I wonder if they ever think about that, instead of just incessantly telling people how not to be.

  24. #24 Steven
    January 28, 2007

    How true. How true.

  25. #25 Zeno
    January 28, 2007

    Jason: People tend to embrace “alternative medicine” only when conventional medicine does not offer a proven or effective treatment.

    I wish you were right, Jason, but I’m afraid lots of people actually prefer the “alternative”. As bogus as it is, it can be comforting and less frightening than real medical treatment. My sister-in-law is currently risking her life with “natural” enema treatments instead of letting a physician biopsy her colon to find out what the swelling in her bowel is. She prefers her quack, who diagnoses her by peering at her irises and has time to sip tea with her.

  26. #26 Bob
    January 28, 2007

    …he took advantage of the best available medical care, then proclaimed, “I just must believe that God is in absolute control over all things.” Apparently he doesn’t see the irony in making that statement after major surgery and weeks in the hospital.

    Oh yes, the xian two-step is definitely alive and well…

  27. #27 beepbeepitsme
    January 28, 2007

    “Praying for sick strangers does not improve their prospects of recovering, according to a large, carefully designed study that casts doubt on the widely held belief that being prayed for can help a person heal.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/14/AR2005071401695.html?nav=rss_health

    Prayer ‘no aid to heart patients’
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4681771.stm

    “Praying for patients undergoing heart operations does not improve their outcomes, a US study suggests. A study found those who were prayed for were as likely to have a setback in hospital, be re-admitted, or die within six months as those not prayed for.”

    Praying for someone might might you feel emotionally better, but studies show it does little or nothing to effect the outcome of the patient.

  28. #28 Jonathan Badger
    January 28, 2007

    People tend to embrace “alternative medicine” only when conventional medicine does not offer a proven or effective treatment.

    I don’t know about that. Obviously there’s the newage folks who prefer the alternative woo by default, but I’ve known people with cancer that took herbal “remedies” and purchased overpriced “anti-cancer magnets” while still following proven and effective treatments like chemotherapy. They weren’t normally devotees of woo; they were scared, that’s all, and were reaching for anything that could lessen their fears, whether it made rational sense or not.

  29. #29 ERV
    January 28, 2007

    Hank Fox: But no, a good number of them are actively, aggressively, trying to corrupt teaching, injure science, and hamstring vital medical research.

    PZ: There are no theistic heart attack patients–they’re all clutching for the defibrillator, the pills, the expert medical assistance before they’ll rely on that ineffectual immaterial ghost in the sky.

    *snort* Ah and rest assured they will happily lap up the results of my cancer research as well, despite the fact all of it requires evolution. Thank goodness they will be healthy enough to run for school boards to prevent the teaching of evolution, wiping out hope of further progress.

    *sigh*

  30. #30 Alison
    January 28, 2007

    It’s just like the infertile couples who go to clinics for treatment. As soon as they’re carrying multiples and doctors suggest selective abortion to maximize the health of the babies, suddenly they don’t want to go against “God’s will”. It was OK to go against God’s will that they not get pregnant, though.

  31. #31 Glen Davidson
    January 28, 2007

    But, but all real recovery is due to the great design of the human body and its recuperative powers, don’t you know. We were designed to recover, and all of the flaws, heart attacks, etc., well they’re due to sin, eating as one who enjoys life, alcohol (for the teetotalers).

    Then when everything has been exhausted or successfully countered, “God’s ways are not our ways” (we don’t know the purpose of the designer), which is the get-out-of-jail-free-card of the IDists (doesn’t explain anything about cladistics, homologies, or analogies, but explanation is the furthest thing from their minds). Maybe Kennedy’s heart attack is to some greater purpose, and almost certainly he’ll try to spin it that way. Likely enough he’ll be “even more certain” that evolution didn’t account for any increase in his health, which is easy enough when he has no knowledge of science.

    Anyway, on another matter, I’m not even sure that the IDists and creationists are 1% religious or “non-naturalistic”. Truth is, their “imaginations” do not extend beyond engineering, hence we’re “designed”. Religious folk of the past had God speak, and it was done (the little folk tale about God forming Adam was taken as metaphor by many later believers, as they didn’t believe God was some sculptor of clay). It’s a kind of top-down industrial view, fed in part by their lack of understanding of the physicality of design, and just how difficult such an explanation of life would be, if they were really serious about “explaining” life’s complexity via “design”.

    I mean, try getting them to explain how and why everything was designed in organisms. This is exactly where ID stops, when it is precisely where it ought to begin (and it is true that it could be done without knowing exactly who or what designed life, so long as life were consistent with our (mostly) rationalistic methods–which it is not). They don’t know, they don’t care, God is their excuse not to bother with the petty details.

    Kennedy will be thankful to God that we are designed to be able to produce medicine, equipment, and methods that enhance the recuperative powers that God designed in us. He will continue to be disappointed that useless ideas like evolution are used to deny that design, and perhaps even impede greater research. For he hasn’t a clue about the science that he simply rails against, apparently believing and spreading the lies which are held as collective “truths” from the CSC to Kent Hovind’s prison cell.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  32. #32 squeaky
    January 28, 2007

    Actually, no doubt they were praying, and the prayer went something like this:

    “Please guide the hands of the surgeon who you have skilled.”

    Most Christians are thankful for medical developments and view our understanding of the human body as an outgrowth of the gift of intelligence and capacity for learning God gave humanity. Very few Christians shun medical advances (except, of course, stem cell research). And since Dr. Kennedy isn’t a Christian Scientist, he also would not shun the latest in heart treatment.

    That’s the way Christians look at it–take it for what it’s worth.

  33. #33 jre
    January 28, 2007

    Though it pains me to say it, squeaky is right. Unless Kennedy was on record as favoring spiritual intervention as an exclusive treatment for serious medical conditions, the accusation that he is somehow inconsistent in accepting the fruits of medical science (just because he rejects science in other arenas) is hollow. PZ, you need to sharpen your rapier; this was not among your best efforts.

  34. #34 windy
    January 28, 2007

    …the accusation that he is somehow inconsistent in accepting the fruits of medical science (just because he rejects science in other arenas) is hollow.

    What? Of course he’s being inconsistent, by your definition.

  35. #35 Glen Davidson
    January 28, 2007

    No, I wouldn’t say that PZ’s comments were poorly done. Were he to deal with every excuse and tangle of logic used to prop up the God-notion he’d never get done with his response.

    Sometimes you just have to rationalize the irrational, then ask why Kennedy doesn’t rationally “rely on God” when he asks us to “rely on God” for studying biology. Hell, we could as easily rationalize causally understood evolution as “God’s work” (Ken Miller does) as Kennedy rationalizes evolutionarily-backed medical science as being “really God’s design”. It just isn’t a reasonable add-on in either case, however (not to fault Miller–much), so we have to pretend that Kennedy thinks rationally to skewer his irrationality.

    Wandering through the maze of excuses and a posteriori rationalizations is not the way to satirize their irrationality. You treat them as more rational than they are in order to undercut the irrationality that they rely upon. For it is their unclear “thinking” that must be swept away, not countered in all of its minutia and fundamental mistakes.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  36. #36 ERV
    January 28, 2007

    jre: He denies evolution, but not the medical care that is a result of our understanding of evolution. He says evolution leads to immorality and ‘Nazis’ and all sorts of fun evil, but doesnt mind benefiting from medical research performed by atheists.

    I think thats pretty hypocritical.

  37. #37 Scott Hatfield
    January 28, 2007

    If God exists, then one of God’s gifts is that of reason, and there is no lack of faith implied in accepting the fruits of reason, or in praying that God’s will might be accomplished through science.

    If God does not exist, then ‘the gift’ is even more to be prized, for it may well be the most important tool in our survival kit….SH

  38. #38 Bob
    January 28, 2007

    If God exists, then one of God’s gifts is that of reason, and there is no lack of faith implied in accepting the fruits of reason, or in praying that God’s will might be accomplished through science.

    Yeah, as if God’s Omnipotent Will could ever be violated…

    Read your Augustine, Scott…

  39. #39 Graculus
    January 28, 2007

    People tend to embrace “alternative medicine” only when conventional medicine does not offer a proven or effective treatment.

    Alternative “medicine”, like all woo, is a belief system. It’s the equivalent of prayer. Some folks reject evidence based treatment for faith healers, some reject evidence based medicine for woo. Same shit, different pile.

  40. #40 Uber
    January 28, 2007

    Most Christians are thankful for medical developments and view our understanding of the human body as an outgrowth of the gift of intelligence and capacity for learning God gave humanity

    This may well be one way to think. But the bible clearly(in one of the few places it is clear) tells how to deal with the ill in a congregation. The question isn’t the rationalization you put forth above but why these methods presented in the bible are seen as not sufficient in quality.

  41. #41 Hank Fox
    January 28, 2007

    By contrast:

    From ABCNews.com:

    The Rev. Robert Drinan, a Jesuit who over the objections of his superiors was the only Roman Catholic priest elected as a voting member of Congress, died Sunday.

    An internationally known human-rights advocate, Drinan was elected on an anti-war platform and represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House for 10 years during the turbulent 1970s.

    He opposed the draft, worked to abolish mandatory retirement and raised eyebrows with his more moderate views on abortion and birth control.

  42. #42 Hank Fox
    January 28, 2007

    Crap, link didn’t work.

    ABCNews.com story on Rev. Drinan:

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2830647

  43. #43 False Prophet
    January 28, 2007

    But you are right, there are no Theists in Intensive Care.

    Posted by: Greg Laden | January 28, 2007 03:27 PM

    I think you’ve just given me my new email sig.

    When my father was in the IC a couple of years ago with septic shock, you better believe I was putting my faith in the skill of the medical staff and the research behind the drugs they were using. Unfortunately, other members of my family didn’t see it that way.

  44. #44 Jason
    January 28, 2007

    Most Christians are thankful for medical developments and view our understanding of the human body as an outgrowth of the gift of intelligence and capacity for learning God gave humanity.

    Well, of course that’s what most of them tell themselves. It gives them permission to avail themselves of the clear and obvious benefits of medical science while maintaining the pretense of religious faith. One might ask them why, if God wants them to get better, he wouldn’t just heal them without any need for drugs and surgeries and such. In cases where medical science fails but the patient recovers anyway, they don’t seem terribly hesitant to attribute that outcome to the Almighty. It’s all such a gigantic exercise in self-delusion.

  45. #45 Jason
    January 28, 2007

    Scott Hatfield,

    If God exists, then one of God’s gifts is that of reason, and there is no lack of faith implied in accepting the fruits of reason, or in praying that God’s will might be accomplished through science.

    On the contrary, relying on the fruits of reason is the antithesis of relying on faith. If they were to rely on faith–as Christian Scientists and, on occasion, Jehovah’s Witnnesses do–they wouldn’t need reason.

    And why would anyone pray “that God’s will might be accomplished through science?” What a bizarre prayer. Why would it be any better for God’s will to be accomplished through science rather than in some other way?

  46. #46 Bryson Tait
    January 29, 2007

    Let’s not be too harsh on those who pray for someone’s recovery. My wife attends a church and has poor health. Members of the congregation tell me they pray for her. I’m an unbeliever and I know their prayers will make no difference. But I would never tell them that it’s medical science that’s keeping her alive and their prayers are a waste of time. I appreciate their sincerity and compassion. It’s simply their way of saying “I sympathize, I hope her health improves”.

  47. #47 Bryson Tait
    January 29, 2007

    Let’s not be too harsh on those who pray for someone’s recovery. My wife attends a church and has poor health. Members of the congregation tell me they pray for her. I’m an unbeliever and I know their prayers will make no difference. But I would never tell them that it’s medical science that’s keeping her alive and their prayers are a waste of time. I appreciate their sincerity and compassion. It’s simply their way of saying “I sympathize, I hope her health improves”.

  48. #48 Ichthyic
    January 29, 2007

    I’m an unbeliever and I know their prayers will make no difference

    actually, if you look at the latest research on the issue, you will see a statistically significant (barely) trend towards prayer slowing recovery when the patient knew they were being prayed for.

    interesting, eh?

    in fact, one of the major criticisms of the study noted that the negative trends implied that the studieds themselves might be more hazardous than is warranted by any conclusions they might reach.

    go figure.

    bottom line:

    don’t tell your wife folks are praying for her.

  49. #49 G. Tingey
    January 29, 2007

    Not only are there no theistic heart-attack patients, there are no creationists when struck down with influenza (and other evolving diseases) – wasn’t there a “Doonesbury” on this some time back?

  50. #50 windy
    January 29, 2007

    Why would it be any better for God’s will to be accomplished through science rather than in some other way?

    Because then we get confidence limits on his will? 🙂

  51. #51 Kevin
    January 29, 2007

    I have to disagree with the “no theists” line. The ones that do rely on prayer instead of medicine just die at home. Jehova’s witness are the best example. Or that female televangelist who “cured” her brothers cancer (and he believed her right until his death from the very same cancer).

    I can’t help but laugh at those who rely on “alternative” treatments for serious disease. I have Crohns disease. I follow my doctors instructions and take the top medicine to treat it. My friends sister also has the disease. When he found out that I had it, he told me not to listen to the doctors, his sister had found better treatments. Well, she’s had 2 surgeries. I’ve been symptom free for awhile now. I think I’ll stick with the doctors.

  52. #52 Pattanowski
    January 29, 2007

    I would imagine that D.J Kennedy has had direct communication with the lord and will be able to set the record straight on why he was sent back to Earth to regain his bodily form. Personally, I’m hoping it will be related in an upcoming book or DVD! Get well soon D.J!!

  53. #53 Rocky
    January 29, 2007

    Contrary to the above, fundimentalist christions do believe that prayer alone will cure them. I work with a fundie minister, and he has stated many times he never gets sick because god keeps him healthy. At least until he was out with the flu.

  54. #54 Glen Davidson
    January 29, 2007

    If God exists, then one of God’s gifts is that of reason, and there is no lack of faith implied in accepting the fruits of reason, or in praying that God’s will might be accomplished through science.

    First of all, how does “God exists” lead to the conclusion that “one of God’s gifts is that of reason”? Reason might be fallen, hubristic man’s temptation to reject faith to “rely on our own powers”, not God’s gift whatsoever. The actual use of reason is often condemned just so, even if the pious respect for a “reason” that thinks “God” is still in play for most of the “faithful”.

    The claim often is that reason is God’s gift. If we just accept that as the basis for further disputation, knowing that “God exists” really doesn’t imply that “reason is a gift from God”, we can find further holes in the idea.

    We might say that it is consistent for those who think (or, accept on “faith”) that both faith and reason are God’s gifts to rely upon both “gifts” during an illness–unless, of course, the failure of the “faith hypothesis” calls into question the latter’s reasonableness. For if faith “works” as it is said to do, it is consistent with reason in this context, but if it doesn’t “work” as claimed, reason weighs in against it. Faith wouldn’t necessarily have to be explainable for one to be “reasonable” in resorting to it, but it would have to show some correlation with one’s reliance upon that faith.

    So the “reasonable” conclusion to the continued reliance upon faith in the face of overwhelming non-evidence is that it merely demonstrates one of the frequent uses of “reason”, the rationalization of faith’s failures and the tendency to try to turn empirical research into something that really depends on God in some manner or other. Of course people want to credit what actually works, reason, to God in order to cling to the “faith” that covers their ignorance, but that isn’t reasonable, nor does it even indicate any honest reliance upon faith (it isn’t faith when it’s mere rationalization).

    That said, I don’t mind if one cries out to God when things are hopeless, or if people give comfort to the “believers” by praying for them. Even an animal cries out to it knows not what when it has no other recourse (in fact it is probably crying out instinctively to bring in predators to scare off its immediate threat, but it doesn’t know that). It is an emotional response to an emotional crisis, a crisis that is not helped at some point by reason or the empirical sciences.

    What I can’t do is to say that the construct made out of our instinctual calls to unknown agents is reasonable, rather than a rationalization of what would better be left as an emotional reaction. People may and will do what seems best to them, just don’t ask me to christen the irrational ritualized response with the name “reason”.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  55. #55 Glen Davidson
    January 29, 2007

    I shouldn’t only say that an animal cries out to call in predators to afflict the first predator. Probably animal distress cries aren’t restricted to that, but could be calls to “Mommy”, other relatives, and the “herd”, depending on what the animal is of course. Which emphasizes the fact that it doesn’t know to whom it is calling, while humans name this we-know-not-what “God”.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  56. #56 Kristine
    January 29, 2007

    Let’s just put some perspective on this, shall we?

    D. James Kennedy:
    – believes in the death penalty for homosexuals, “abortionists,” “adulterers,” incorrigible teen-agers, among others;
    – is virulently anti-Catholic and anti-Freemason;
    -is a Christian Dominionist working to turn this nation into a theonomy (strict theocracy);
    – wants the world to end soon;
    – and his views on women…do I even need to go there?

    These views are crazy. People have become desensitized to them. Look, these people are out there, and they have oodles of money and power. People who say, “But I’m not a fundamentalist…” don’t have lots of cash and power and don’t understand that Coral Ridge Ministries is a money-grubbing machine for political power, not just big nice houses. We don’t wish this man dead–we wish he would shut up. Or better yet, admit that he was lying and then shut up.

  57. #57 ERIC JUVE
    January 29, 2007

    Why don’t they just accept gods plan and let the chips fall where they may. They aren’t really dying after all, just being called home….

  58. #58 Carl
    January 29, 2007

    I am an engine company Lieutenant for a central Florida fire department. My stations response area could best be described as “Next stop heaven”.

    When we respond to the multitude of cardiac related calls we always get, we are confronted with them same sentiment over and over. “We are paraying for (insert name here) to get better.” Then when they come by the station afterwards, we hear ” God made them better” I suppose next time they have a huge cardiac event, they can pray and not call 911 since our ALS(advanced Life Support ) care didn’t do anything for ’em.

  59. #59 Carlie
    January 29, 2007

    I’ve always thought, even when I was a hard-core fundamentalist, that “giving all the credit to God” as they call it for recoveries is really slapping their doctors in the face. No, God didn’t do it, your surgeon’s ability to pay attention, learn, and have the stamina to deal with med school, internship, and a residency did it. I’d be really pissed off if I were an MD and kept being told how wonderful God was for healing my patients.

  60. #60 JamesR
    January 29, 2007

    Kennedy is a skunk. How much of his medical care is he paying for himself? Or more likely how much of his flocks dollars paid for it and of his flock how many are not able to afford health care like their leader receives. Faith? HA my ass. His true colors do show. He knows full well that prayer is insufficient to heal.

  61. #61 Hank Fox
    January 29, 2007

    Carl and Carlie, that same thing bugs me.

    You get firefighters going into a burning building to pull out a 9-year-old girl who’s overcome by smoke, paramedics work on her for 20 minutes on the ride to the emergency room, then doctors and nurses in Emergency and Intensive Care labor over her for another three days. She finally emerges from the hospital and her stupid parents say …

    “God was watchin’ over our little girl. It’s a miracle!”

    So you’ve got courageous firefighters and intensely-trained paramedics, all backed by taxpayers who willingly foot the bill for their extremely valuable social and humanitarian work, you’ve got doctors who went to school, some of them, for close to 20 years, you’ve got nurses who work killing hours at an extremely difficult job but who never give up caring, you’ve got the medical researchers and the larger body of science itself, you’ve got all the technicians and construction workers and mechanics who provide the physical plant and technological maintenance for the whole complex thing …

    … and all her dullard parents can think of is that God’s been good to THEM personally.

    Bloody hell. I always wish some tired nurse would just walk up and slap them flat.

  62. #62 Hank Fox
    January 29, 2007

    This is just wrong:

    I Have A Sinister Plan For Your Life” — Jesus

    The flip side of “It’s a miracle!”

  63. #63 Glen Davidson
    January 29, 2007

    One thing about crediting “God” for what humans and sciences, like evolution, have done to save their little girl, is that it is a way of “understanding” the uncertainty that remains despite the capabilities of physicians, EMTs, nurses, etc. It’s always been “god of the gaps” in at least most religions, and it still is (and leaving gaps open that had been “filled by god”).

    You know that good people are saving your daughter, then, but you also know that she might die in spite of all that. So you pray to try to make up the difference, as it were. Then if she turns out all fine, you feel great relief and the efforts you put into praying seem to have been worth it. If she dies, you tell yourself that you did all you could, including prayer, and tell yourself that she’s with God now.

    Of course none of it is rational, but so it goes with emotions. Most of them really don’t forget about the people who “helped God” pull her through, yet the uncertainty that did exist was filled with certainty via prayer (sometimes they feel certain, anyhow), and that “certainty” sometimes becomes the reality. When that happens, they do thank god, and some others will thank “the fates”, fortune, luck, or whatever (mostly the latter are recognized not to be real, still the ritual of thanking them suits our make-up). Sometimes, one “thanks God”, just as an expression.

    There’s some “sense” to it all in our primate brains, then, but no reason to it.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  64. #64 bernarda
    January 29, 2007

    Hank Fox, have you heard this song.

    http://www.falafelsex.com/sounds/GodWill.mp3

    “Hand of the Almighty”, many bloggers call it “god will f-ck you up”.

    You can get more of this at the author’s, John R. Butler, site.

    http://johnrbutler.com/

  65. #65 mothra
    January 29, 2007

    Dr. D. James Kennedy is (was?!?) an evil man. His work has disrupted hundreds (or thousands) of families, his ministry has through mis-representation, stolen millions of dollars from underprivileged, impoverished, and/or emotionally vulnerable people. I am not as kind as some other bloggers, Dr. Kennedy, Godspeed!

  66. #66 David Marjanovi?
    January 29, 2007

    Maybe they themselves should model the behavior that they would like to see “the Darwinists” emulate. I wonder if they ever think about that, instead of just incessantly telling people how not to be.

    Agressive American fundamentalists have that special brand of Christianity, you know, the one without the Sermon on the Mount, the one where “if I had faith that I could move mountains, yet had not love”, I’d rocket straight into Heaven.

  67. #67 David Marjanovi?
    January 29, 2007

    Maybe they themselves should model the behavior that they would like to see “the Darwinists” emulate. I wonder if they ever think about that, instead of just incessantly telling people how not to be.

    Agressive American fundamentalists have that special brand of Christianity, you know, the one without the Sermon on the Mount, the one where “if I had faith that I could move mountains, yet had not love”, I’d rocket straight into Heaven.

  68. #68 Keith Douglas
    January 30, 2007

    squeaky: But don’t forget the various Christians who opposed anesthetics, though … the opposition to stem cells is nothing new.

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