Pharyngula

Pharyngula Phootball Philes

Since Katie is trying to turn this into a football blog (don’t mock it! Have you seen the kinds of traffic numbers the big sports blogs bring in?), here’s another football story with a neuro link: a player who credits his recovery from a concussion to a “miracle”. It sounds like there is a whole epidemic of foolishness in the NFL.

“People get really nervous when they hear someone proclaim their faith boldly,” says the Rev. Peter Gallagher, one of the chaplains for the Indianapolis Colts. “So the easy thing to do is make fun of them. That way you won’t have to deal with the real questions about spirituality you may have in your own life.

“I believe Jon.”

He better. By all accounts, Gallagher is a card-carrying member of the NFL’s so-called God Squad, led by its evangelical coach Tony Dungy and a starting quarterback who admitted to praying his way to last season’s Super Bowl.

“Admitted”? I think he means “claimed”.

Oh, well. These guys aren’t picked for their superlative brain power, that’s for sure. But I have to disagree with Gallagher: we make fun of them because they say stupid things that reveal they haven’t considered “spirituality” beyond a lickspittle obedience to dogma and the most superficial interpretations of causality in the world.


OK, one more football-related link: Best lampoon of Gregg Easterbrook ever.

Comments

  1. #1 Caucasian Jesus
    September 28, 2007

    Meanwhile, millions die from starvation. But it’s a good thing that million dollar-making football player will walk again and Pujols hits homeruns! Glad god’s got his priorities straight!

  2. #2 Callandor
    September 28, 2007

    Thank goodness god is working tirelessly to get teams to the Super Bowl, rather than focusing on the worthless Emmy’s….

  3. #3 qedpro
    September 28, 2007

    I just read the Michael Vick, “the dog murderer”, just found god. Apparently god was hiding in a jail cell.

  4. #4 Sean
    September 28, 2007

    Has anyone here been in deep legal trouble before? Do lawyers flat-out tell you to find Jesus? Do you write a large check to your lawyer recommended Christian Life Coach?

  5. #5 Carol
    September 28, 2007

    Meh, that’s nothing. One NFL player believes that the word of God was revealed to him in football scores. Following devine revelation he has worked out that the tribulation is due 1 year from now. (and he ain’t kiddin’ folks)

    Read it and weep,

    Now watch. The second overtime game played in CALIFORNIA on January the”8″th, the San Diego Chargers lost to the New York Jets 20-“17”. Look at San Diego’s losing score of “17” (1+7″8″). And here is a direct quote from the game: Kicker Doug Brien won the game for the Jets with a “28”-yard field goal!! Do you see the prophecy?! THE NUMBERS ARE IN PERFECT ALIGNMENT PROPHETICALLY POINTING TO “2008” FOR A MAJOR DISASTER TO HIT CALIFORNIA!!! A disaster “MUCH WORSE” than what hit NEW YORK in 2001!! Notice also in Michael Boldea’s dream the Eagle (AMERICA) was first attacked on its left wing. So with an Eagle facing you that is prophetically the East Coast of the USA (i.e. New York on 911). Then the Eagle is attacked much worse on its Right Wing meaning prophetically West Coast of USA or CALIFORNIA!!!

    When you look at the prophetic evidence of this second game, combined with all the other evidence in this article, (realizing that the 1st game has already been prophetically fulfilled as the 911 event), we see the LORD revealing more and more about this end-time timeline that a MAJOR DISASTER in CALIFORNIA in 2008 will be at least one of the catalyst events that will shake the World up so as to set the stage for the Tribulation to begin in September of 2008!

  6. #6 G Felis
    September 28, 2007

    Off-topic: Oh fer fuck’s sake! Forget taking sports too seriously. The Chronicle of Higher Education found someone to write a story that takes MIKE S. ADAMS seriously! The ideal of “journalist balance” gets dragged through the mud by idiots once more…

  7. #7 Micah
    September 28, 2007

    Carol: the formatting on that site makes my eyes bleed. So does the content.

    I wrote about this article as well – it just seems completely ludicrous that people really think God cares about football. I mean, if you’re going to argue that your invisible entity answers prayers, you’re already on very shaky ground if you want to even pretend he’s not a callous bastard (at best). But if you argue that he influences football games, you’re just completely off the rails.

    Also, glad to see PZ liked the faux Easterbrook column. I’m (at least one of) the people who sent it to him.

  8. #8 mndean
    September 28, 2007

    Well, when the Colts don’t win this year, I’m sending them a letter which will say simply, “All that praying and look. Jesus just doesn’t love you anymore”.

  9. #9 Andrew
    September 28, 2007

    Callandor: If God has been working tirelessly to get the Detroit Lions or any other Jon Kitna-led team to the Super Bowl, that says a whole lot about God’s capabilities.

  10. #10 Carol
    September 28, 2007

    Micah said,

    I mean, if you’re going to argue that your invisible entity answers prayers, you’re already on very shaky ground if you want to even pretend he’s not a callous bastard (at best). But if you argue that he influences football games, you’re just completely off the rails.

    Agreed, but to be clear, it’s not just that Verba believes God influences games, it is that he actually believes God is revealing the timeline for the end time prophecies by NFL game scores. That kind of faith “reasoning” brings his postings to a whole different level of insanity.

  11. #11 Micah
    September 28, 2007

    Carol: Oh, I know, I was more addressing the Kitnas/Dungies who just go with “God helped me win/healed my concussion”. Verba is on, impressively, a whole different level.

  12. #12 Arnosium Upinarum
    September 28, 2007

    “These guys aren’t picked for their superlative brain power, that’s for sure.”

    Which begs the question: what brain power is involved in picking them?

    On the notion that God influences games: that make Him a Cheater.

  13. #13 Callandor
    September 28, 2007

    “Callandor: If God has been working tirelessly to get the Detroit Lions or any other Jon Kitna-led team to the Super Bowl, that says a whole lot about God’s capabilities.”

    Pray to your impotent and worthless god, damn it!!!! Or Bill Donahue will cry, and good things will happen.

    Hey wait a minute….

  14. #14 Mike O'Risal
    September 28, 2007

    If he’s crediting an invisible voice from the sky for it, how does anyone know he’s recovered from the concussion? Sounds like it might be permanent brain damage to me.

  15. #15 Dreamstretch
    September 28, 2007

    Can someone please explain to me what “spirituality” actually is? How do I know if I have it? How is it measured?

  16. #16 John Morales
    September 28, 2007

    OOT

    When I read evangelical coach Tony Dungy, I recalled a comedy skit.

    I checked my dictionary to confirm that:
    Adjective: dungy
    Full of dung; filthy; vile; low

    But it’s wrong to make fun of names (I was called moral-less in school).

  17. #17 MTS
    September 28, 2007

    I’ve related this story before, but I’m pretty sure not here.

    Many years ago when I was in high school they still had morning prayers over the intercom (in complete defiance of established law, I might add, since it was a public high school). Once a particularly zealous student prayergiver asked for God’s help in defeating the crosstown rivals we were playing that night.

    Our team got creamed. I’m talking debacle.

    I wrote a letter to the editor of the town paper suggesting that God might have a few more pressing issues than high school football to deal with (I wasn’t quite brave enough to suggest that God didn’t actually exist, although I was already a skeptic if not an outright atheist) and concluded with the observation that if God did care, then obviously he must have been a fan of other team, given the outcome of the game.

    By happenstance the day the letter came out I was quite ill and missed a couple of days of school. I got loads of phone calls from people just sure I’d been expelled or punished in some way (in fairness I should say no one in the administration said or did anything to me about the letter). The reactions when I did get back to school were mostly positive, including support from many of the religious types who found the prayer as offensive as I did. Still, there was a certain amount of muttering when I passed by for a few days.

    I also got a phone call from the head of the local ACLU offering me assistance in case there was any retribution. (Only much later did I realize what a thankless job running the Amarillo, Texas ACLU in the early 70s must have been!) Fortunately I didn’t need to take him up on the offer.

    It’s disheartening to see people still can’t see the problem with ascribing sports results to God, even if he did exist.

    Mr. Deity has a good episode on this topic, by the way, which no one seems to have mentioned yet.

  18. #18 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    September 28, 2007

    Not all pros buy into this shit, in fact I had featured former Vikings running back as one of my “Friday Night Atheists” at the old site.

    Smith had gotten into a row with resident Holy Man Cris Carter about preaching in the locker room. He said “This is my workplace, not church, I don’t need that here.”

  19. #19 makita
    September 28, 2007

    From the link:
    “But isn’t God supposed to care about everyone?”
    Somehow god seems to think it’s more important that football players recover from their concussions than that children in Ethiopia have something to eat. And making sure Sherri Shepherd becomes co-host of The View definitely takes precedent over the children in Iraq living to the next day. This skydaddy needs to get his priorities straight.

  20. #20 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    September 28, 2007

    I had meant to include the guy’s name. That was Robert Smith.

  21. #21 Fernando Magyar
    September 28, 2007

    Dear God, why hast thou forsaken the Buffalo Bills so many times? Aren’t they also your children? I mean really now, do you want them to start praying on little carpets facing mecca or something…

  22. #22 CalGeorge
    September 28, 2007

    If David Ortiz wants to look skyward and point to his imaginary god with two index fingers when he hits home plate, it’s okay with me.

    Go Red Sox!

  23. #23 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    September 28, 2007

    Well, CalGeorge, God wasn’t so kind to David Ortiz last night, was he? Or perhaps God just favored Ortiz’ former team.

  24. #24 firemancarl
    September 28, 2007

    Here is the discussion we are having on PackerReport.

    Kevin Everett
    http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=61&f=1808&t=1071925&sto=pagestart

    Look, we have discussions like this all the time. There are 3 atheists/agnostics. I am FMCH-checkout my sig line by Phil Ken Sebben!

    Some thumper said it was miracle and that god/jebus had a hand in it.

  25. #25 American Scot
    September 28, 2007

    So is that why the Bears lost last year to the Colts? God interfered, not Grossman’s arm…
    Whatever…

  26. #26 Jane E. Valentine, FCD
    September 28, 2007

    *one* of the chaplains for the team? How many do they need?

  27. #27 firemancarl
    September 28, 2007

    God has chosen Brett Favre! Duuuuuhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

  28. #28 David Marjanovi?
    September 28, 2007

    Comment 5: How many Timecubes? 0.8?

    (Is the scale linear or logarithmic, Caledonian?)

  29. #29 David Marjanovi?
    September 28, 2007

    Comment 5: How many Timecubes? 0.8?

    (Is the scale linear or logarithmic, Caledonian?)

  30. #30 RIckD
    September 28, 2007

    I’ve long thought it would be cool to go to a football game and hold up a sign with chapter and verse of something inane or embarrassing from the Bible.

    Leviticus 12:3 “And in the eigth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised”!
    (or pretty much anything from Leviticus)

    Matthew 24:34 (Discussion the fall of Jerusalem and the second coming of Christ…) “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”

    Exodus 21:20-21 say that if a master beats his slave (“If a man strike his servant, or maid, with a rod”) and the slave dies, the master should be punished, but only if the slave dies that day.

    Of course, there’s good old

    Exodus 21:17 “And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death”

    etc., etc.

  31. #31 Brian
    September 28, 2007

    I was so floored when I read that article the other day that I filled out the comment box on ESPN’s website with a rather lengthy rebuttal to each of the author’s bad points. (I’m sorry. I just can no longer tolerate this type of discourse any longer. I’m calling bullshit whenever I can.)

    To my amazement, below is the email that appeared in my Inbox the following morning. This response made even less sense than the original article. Read it a weep…

    “First, thanks for such a thoughtful response, I do
    appreciate it. And you bring up some very valid
    points. I was not suggesting that Kitna, or anyone
    else of faith, should not face critics. But that was
    the majority of what I heard– critics. In a nation in
    which 90 percent are suppose to believe in God I found
    their silence deafening. And faith is the evidence of
    things unseen. I know it’s not scientific but then
    science once dictated the world was flat and at the
    center of the universe.”

  32. #32 Arnosium Upinarum
    September 28, 2007

    From Brian’s inbox: “…faith is the evidence of things unseen. I know it’s not scientific but then science once dictated the world was flat and at the center of the universe.” [says Brian, “Read it and weep…”]

    I’m long since outa tears.

    Things unseen constitute evidence. Science ‘dictates’ (never mind he got the ‘dictation’ completely ass-backwards). Yet he claims he “knows its not scientific”.

    Well, I suppose one could say that the writer has a flair for condensing hogwash into extremely dense kernals of hogshit.

    What an astounding intellect these idiots have.

  33. #33 Brian
    September 28, 2007

    RE: My earlier post #30.

    Here was my response to the author’s email. His silence has been deafening. And as long as this post is related to football, let me take a brief moment to say “Go Eagles!”

    “Thank you for responding, but mostly I appreciate your willingness to discuss such important topics that are too often taboo to discuss.

    It may be strange for you to hear such criticism of Kitna’s remarks when, as you rightly point out, most Americans believe in God. But do keep in mind that believers probably saw what he said, and frankly, thought nothing of it because those sentiments were shared. Therefore it seems virtually inevitable that criticism will always be the loudest.

    I’m not sure how, as you put it, “faith is the evidence of things unseen”. For instance, I had total faith that my beloved Philadelphia Eagles would win their opening game at Green Bay. Despite my unwavering faith, it certainly did not make it true. Again, as I stressed in my initial comment, it’s only when we deal with matters of religious faith that our normal pursuit of truth-testing is thrown out the window. This is a double-standard by which I cannot abide. Faith, whether specifically religious or not, is merely the suspension of belief in the face of evidence.

    Yes, there was a time when people believed the Earth was the center of the universe. Fortunately, it has been because of (not in spite of) science that humanity has discovered this is not the case. That’s the great thing about science. It’s a wonderfully self-correcting mechanism that can constantly change in the face of new evidence. Faith, on the other hand, is unwavering. The Bible hasn’t changed in 2000 years. It hasn’t corrected it’s mistakes about cosmology or the origin of life. And by paying lip service to these mistakes we’re paying a terrible price evidenced by the number of people whose faith is so strong that they take their holy text literally.

    Thanks again for your time.”

  34. #34 JD
    September 28, 2007

    Brian wrote:

    Yes, there was a time when people believed the Earth was the center of the universe. Fortunately, it has been because of (not in spite of) science that humanity has discovered this is not the case. That’s the great thing about science. It’s a wonderfully self-correcting mechanism that can constantly change in the face of new evidence.

    It was good that you took the time to reply to ESPN’s prattle; however, to be clear the notion of geocentrism was a belief held by iron age, goat hearder mythology and superstition, not science. It wasn’t a case of self-correction as your post seems to imply. It was one of disproving their silly beliefs.

    let me take a brief moment to say “Go Eagles!”

    If you’re an Eagles fan, I must say as a native of Pennsylvania, you have my sympathies and of course,

    HERE WE GO STEELERS, HERE WE GO!!!

  35. #35 Arnosium Upinarum
    September 28, 2007

    Brian – bingo man!

    The effect on the fellow undoubtedly featured pursed lips on magenta face, in the finest tradition of bushian apoplexy.

    Do let us know if his silence is ever broken. (I rather doubt it, but its always entertaining to hear the myriad variations on the common theme of woo).

    In the meantime, enjoy the gentle sounds of chirping crickets. They make a lot more sense too.

  36. #36 AlanWCan
    September 28, 2007

    Yes I can see it now, another day in the Mr. God office. Hmmmm…should I find Madeleine McCann or put the fix in for some dumb steroid monkey to win a ball game. That’s a no-brainer. Someone throw 2 talents on that game for me down at ladbrokes.

  37. #37 Rugosa
    September 29, 2007

    Ah, Fernando, I feel your pain. My beloved Bills are sucking big time this year, partly due to injuries to so many players. But also because the Football Gods have their inscrutable ways. Did Ralph Wilson, Jr., do something so heinous that the team is forever cursed?

  38. #38 Captain C
    September 29, 2007

    Rick D #29–Deuteronomy 23:1 “No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the LORD.”

  39. #39 Grey
    September 29, 2007

    Living in Indianapolis is a never-ending test of just how embarrassed you can get before dying from it. I keep thinking I’ve hit maximum until something like this comes along and proves me wrong.

  40. #40 chat
    October 21, 2008

    thanks

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