Pharyngula

Wacky Michael Egnor is complaining that the data showing progress in treatment of some cancers should be credited to the culture of Christianity instead of science, and further claims that “The remarkable progress in the treatment of cancer in the past several decades had a lot to do with faith and prayer.”

Hmmm. Given that the data shows a change, a rise in cancer survival within the past few decades, was there some breakthrough in prayer efficacy 20 years ago? Thumbs in vs. thumbs out in the folded hands thing? Accent on the “A-” or on the “men!”? Sudden change from the old useless lazy god to a new and improved go-getter god? I suspect the correlations all show the effectiveness of entirely secular improvements in treatment, since the god-stuff hasn’t changed from it’s usual ineffectiveness at all.

Egnor makes much of the fact that churches built hospitals, and that the data came from a religiously funded organization. Christians aren’t that stupid; they can recognize a successful paradigm when they see it, and can jump on the bandwagon quite well. These hospitals founded by churches are using medicine, not faith, to do their healing. We’re sloshing about in the mud of religion, so you can’t credit the muck when something rises above the superstition to shine simply because everyone’s hands are filthy with dirt.

And this is just disgusting.

Science grew in a culture made fertile by Christian (and Jewish) faith and prayer. When science is explanted from Christian culture and is idolized — consider evolutionary psychology and eugenics — it becomes banal and even evil.

Faith and prayer do nothing. They do not make a culture fertile, as we can see by many examples all around the world of quite religious countries that are marked as much by failure as success. His two examples are insane. I disagree with much of evolutionary psychology, but can you think of any evil done by that academic exercise, in particular, anything comparable to the Albigensian Crusade, to name just one example? As for eugenics, that wasn’t good science to begin with, and it was endorsed by evangelical Christians. Their god seems to be no better at leading people into right action than no god at all.

All science is explanted from sectarian superstition, and large numbers of scientists are godless — yet rather than banality and evil, they seem to be very successful at discovering wonder and beauty. Egnor’s comments are but one step away from the same nonsense Ben Stein was peddling, that “science kills people”, and just as ill-founded and ridiculous.

Comments

  1. #1 Kel
    June 25, 2008

    It’s amazing that they can spiel such nonsense and still be taken seriously by some. It’s just as bad as those pushers of New-age medicine, using incredibly tenuous correlation as causation. Though when you deal with the irrational, straws must seem like thick ropes.

  2. #2 syntyche
    June 25, 2008

    I always knew algebra was evil…

  3. #3 Danley
    June 25, 2008

    There he goes Egnoring the evidence again.

  4. #4 Kel
    June 25, 2008

    There he goes Egnoring the evidence again.

    That’s got to go in the “so bad, it’s good” category.

  5. #5 ngong
    June 25, 2008

    I live in Thailand. It’s 95% Buddhist. Amazingly, I guess, certain cancer rates are down, and people believe in things like compassionate treatment of the ill.

  6. #6 Yoo
    June 25, 2008

    I wish such people would put their money where their mouth is and use only products and lifestyles that come from their religion, and try living without any of the technological and medical advances that their religion fought so hard against.

    Although sometime I think that they may have a point. Christianity is so anti-scientific compared to systems such as Confucianism that it may have inspired a backlash against authority which resulted in rapid progress in science. In other words, Christianity may have helped science by producing anti-Christians. But it’s only an occasional thought …

  7. #7 Shaden Freud
    June 25, 2008

    Science grew in a culture made fertile by Christian (and Jewish) faith and prayer.

    Gotta include the Jews, since we need them to bring about the end of the world – right before they convert or suffer eternal damnation!

  8. #8 Ginger Yellow
    June 25, 2008

    “Science grew in a culture made fertile by Christian (and Jewish) faith and prayer. When science is explanted from Christian culture…”

    Remarkable how quickly he drops any pretence this is about anything other than Christianity.

  9. #9 Screechy Monkey
    June 25, 2008

    I’m so confused. Here I thought things were getting worse in America because we “kicked God out of the schools,” “promoted” homosexuality, let Clinton get a blowjob in the White House, etc. etc.

    That God’s a wacky fellow. He smites with one hand, cures cancer with the other.

  10. #10 steven Dunlap
    June 25, 2008

    I’m reminded of a guy my brother came upon while walking down the beach in Florida one say. He tried to sell my brother a “magic” piece of drift wood.

    “What’s magic about it?” My brother asked.
    “It prevents snowstorms,” answered the driftwood seller.
    “But it has not snowed in Florida for over a century!” my brother told him.
    He replied: “See how well it works!”

  11. #11 Brian English
    June 25, 2008

    I just completed a psych. unit that involved a bit of evolutionary psychology. I read from time to time how it’s wrong. What I study in psych. seems perfectly reasonable: we evolved, thus brain structures and behaviours have some adaptive benefit. Mental illness can often be attributed to an adaptive behaviour going haywire, say fear turning into a phobic disorder. I don’t get what’s wrong with looking at our psychology from an evolutionary perspective. Perhaps there’s another evolutionary psychology that I’m not aware of….

  12. #12 Azkyroth
    June 25, 2008

    Well, to be fair, Faith-Based Birth Control DOES make a culture more fertile…

  13. #13 Doubting Foo
    June 25, 2008

    Since Islam was the fastest growing religion of the last 20 years then is he willing to accept the possibility that it is the prayers of Muslims that get the job done?

  14. #14 afterthought
    June 25, 2008

    So let’s see, science has improved health care markedly. Also, when certain religious fanatics pray rather than seek science-based treatment for their ill, the ill have tended to die from very curable ailments. Yes, it is clear that prayer is what cures people. I don’t know why I couldn’t see it before. I must have been blinded by Lucifer, or maybe the Rolling Stones (Heart? Was it Nancy or Ann that had the mark of the devil? I forget).

  15. #15 JStein
    June 25, 2008

    Christian Science… now that’s a funny one.

    Seriously, though, Christians have done more to oppose scientific advances through blocking funding for AIDS and other STDs than I think I can ever forgive them for and, contrary to what this idiot says (PZ already pointed out why that’s bullcrap), they haven’t done much to promote it.

  16. #16 sailor
    June 25, 2008

    People will never take responsibility for their actions as long as they believe in a sky fairy who is second guessing them all the time. Further how seriously would anyone take global warming if they though ultimately it was up to God, and no matter how badly we fucked up, he could always step in and fix things.

    On the other hand, maybe “thumbs in” really worked after all. Does that mean we wil have to run all those prayer experiments again with different prayer-thumbing protocol?

  17. #17 Glen Davidson
    June 25, 2008

    Yay, Xianity gave rise to science (so the strain goes).

    Now, let’s throttle biological science.

    Hmm, so we should praise the religion of Egnor that gave rise to the science that Egnor despises?

    Seems we should kill evolution at its (putative) source: Get rid of Xianity (not really my position (ease it downhill, if possible) but the “logic” of Egnor).

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  18. #18 Azkyroth
    June 25, 2008

    Perhaps there’s another evolutionary psychology that I’m not aware of….

    There’s a closely related morass of pseudoscience which pretends to be a legitimate application of evolutionary principles to psychology and sociology, and which I’ve taken to calling “evolutionary phrenology,” that uses various logical fallacies, profound misunderstandings of many of the principles of evolution and biology, and pretentious just-so stories in a transparent attempt at retroactively justifying existing societal (and personal) prejudices and existing inequalities in the social order. Said morass is responsible, so far as I can tell, for the vast majority of “evolutionary psychology”‘s negative reputation.

    Though, it’s not clear to me what this has to do with the post. O.o

  19. #19 IBYea
    June 25, 2008

    Yeah, forget about the huge advances in medicine. It must be due to the fact God’s ear was relieved from all prayers in the world shouting in his ear momentarily. (I don’t know how it happened, OK?)

  20. #20 Azkyroth
    June 25, 2008

    …wait, I see the connection now.

    Also, I believe I left out their use of woefully incomplete data sets (how appropriate). Further attention should be called to evolutionary phrenologists’ extreme cherry-picking of existing data and habitually poor research methodology.

  21. #21 Brian English
    June 25, 2008

    Thanks Azkyroth, it was this quote from the post sparked my question…..

    I disagree with much of evolutionary psychology, but can you think of any evil done by that academic exercise, in particular, anything comparable to the Albigensian Crusade, to name just one example?

    Ahh, so that evolutionary psychology is something akin to social darwinism. Now I get it. :)

  22. #22 Bad Albert
    June 25, 2008

    Science grew in a culture made fertile by Christian (and Jewish) faith and prayer.

    Yeah right, just ask Bruno and Galileo.

  23. #23 Wowbagger
    June 25, 2008

    This is taking Lying for Jesus? to a whole new level.

    Egnor is saying this and his own people aren’t telling him he’s out of his fucking gourd?

    We need a study where psychologists recruit fundy participants and bring in people who they are told are Xians and who then proceed to tell them the most ridiculous lies* that favour their religion. I’d love to know exactly how outrageous the claims have to be before the credulous actually point out that what they’re hearing is beyond stupid.

    * more ridiculous, that is, than the standard lies

  24. #24 Glen Davidson
    June 25, 2008

    I just completed a psych. unit that involved a bit of evolutionary psychology. I read from time to time how it’s wrong. What I study in psych. seems perfectly reasonable: we evolved, thus brain structures and behaviours have some adaptive benefit.

    I think that most of us who criticize evolutionary psychology aren’t criticizing it in principle. It’s the typical lack of properly controlled data, coupled with many “just-so stories”, to which we object.

    Make it more rigorous, and I won’t object.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  25. #25 Brownian, OM
    June 25, 2008

    I’m so confused. Here I thought things were getting worse in America because we “kicked God out of the schools,” “promoted” homosexuality, let Clinton get a blowjob in the White House, etc. etc.

    Exactly. Pick one direction and go with it.

    Maybe we’d take Christians more seriously if they didn’t all sound like biblical mad libs.

    Here. See for yourself. Use the handy fill-in-the-blank guide below to perfectly imitate nearly any Christian in North America:

    The ______ (world/USA/evolution is bad) has gotten _______ (better/worse/evolution is bad) since we _______ (put a god-fearing man in the White House/took prayer out of school/evolution is bad). That just proves _______ (God exists/God loves us/God hates Jewshomosexuals/evolution is bad).

  26. #26 Brian English
    June 25, 2008

    Thanks Glen, there does seem to be some parts of psych. that are just farting in the wind (freudian analysis) as far as I can see. If evo-psych isn’t founded on data and falsifiable hypotheses then it doesn’t deserve much in the way of respect.

  27. #27 Azkyroth
    June 25, 2008

    Ahh, so that evolutionary psychology is something akin to social darwinism. Now I get it. :)

    It tends to be focused more on supposed racial and gender differences; more the latter, lately, since racism has become less socially acceptable than sexism. This piece satirizes some of its more blatant manifestations, for instance.

  28. #28 midwifetoad
    June 25, 2008

    Fundies building a hospital is a bit like Quakers hiring Paladin (Richard Boone).

  29. #29 Wowbagger
    June 25, 2008

    Social psychology, on the other hand, kicks ass. Hence my desire to test exactly how ridiculous a lie a fundy needs to hear before he/she realises it’s too much. This Egnor thing is suggesting it has to be a lot.

  30. #30 techskeptic
    June 25, 2008

    Looks like egnor needs a lesson on who to thank for every thing we have.

  31. #31 jase
    June 25, 2008

    On the current generic YAHOO homepage is a video news piece on the power of prayer according to that fucking PEWeeeee poll. Perhaps this has bolstered Egnernt into extrapolating senseless data into spin for xian magnanity towards all things sciency… except evolution.

  32. #32 Mike
    June 25, 2008

    I followed the link to that Discovery Institute blog. The first sentence of the little info box at the bottom made me laugh:

    The misreporting of the evolution issue is one key reason for this site.

    That’s refreshingly (even if accidentally) honest.

  33. #33 Julian
    June 25, 2008

    Same crap they’ve always done. According to Christianity, all the important, creative people of the ancient world, from Sophocles to Cicero to Moses were just christians unlucky enough to be born before Jesus. Just ask Dante. Then there is Christianity’s well documented theft of holy sites, rites, and gods from pagan cultures throughout the world. I wonder what it is about this religion in particular that pushes it to co-opt everything it comes across?

  34. #34 Capital Dan
    June 25, 2008

    I suppose it would be too much to expect Christians to accept the many, many previous studies which have already proven that prayer is ineffective, huh?

    They’ll just keep puking up poll after poll until someone tells them what they want to hear.

    I’m honestly surprised Egnor has the temerity to return to public squawking after how people tend to point out just what a raving lunatic he is. I mean, you’d think that after a while, Egnor would just stick a bone in his beard and go bang rocks together in a cave or something.

  35. #35 Geoff
    June 25, 2008

    Evolutionary psychology suffers when people like Philip Rushton get a lot of press and men like Steven Pinker perhaps not enough.

  36. #36 Rey Fox
    June 25, 2008

    Jeez, I am so damn confused. I thought ID wasn’t about religion.

    “consider evolutionary psychology and eugenics”

    Still banging the eugenics drum. What an ass. You know, because he’s a brain scientist, I’m going to go ahead and blame him for all the horrors of mental hospitals in the 20th century.

  37. #37 Albatrossity
    June 25, 2008

    It’s probably a good thing that Evolution News and Views doesn’t allow comments. I could sure waste a lot of time there every time Dr. Egnor poops out one of these classic stinkers.

  38. #38 Rey Fox
    June 25, 2008

    “I’m honestly surprised Egnor has the temerity to return to public squawking after how people tend to point out just what a raving lunatic he is.”

    He’s putting on a show for the rubes. And since there’s no way to comment on that site, then all the criticism stays on the blogs of crazy evil scientists.

  39. #39 Khedrin
    June 25, 2008

    On his blog Egnor “The culture from which science has emerged is Judeo-Christian culture, and modern science has arisen only in Judeo-Christian culture.”

    Doesn’t me mean despite Judeo Christian Culture?

    Ok I got my dig in,

    Seriously so much of our scientific heritage comes down to us, again Despite the Christians from the greeks, and Muslims, and through the Muslims from India (algebra, many astronomy terms, geometry and a concept of zero, to name a few). Yes, Modern Science did arise in western culture, but it was a product of the enlightnment and a train of thought that got off the christian track a long time ago.

  40. #40 Steve
    June 25, 2008

    As a cancer survivor, I’m disgusted to say the least. Praying certainly didn’t put me into remission- the hard work of a team of oncologists, countless nurses and aides, and accompanying valid research or, to be blunt, ‘science.’ It feels good to have a personal vendetta against Christian-pushers though. :)

  41. #41 sailor
    June 25, 2008

    Brian, you make some good points. Evolutionary psychology makes some interesting and valid points, and if it can rise the ire of Egnor, must have some merit, but like Marmite it needs to be spread thinly and does not work if used too elastically. It does seem that some human mating patterns follow the EP mode, for example, I understand the ONLY times polyandry is widely practiced is between brothers. While tastes in the opposite sex do change, certain features like symmetry seem universally attractive. Then there is the bit about men being more attracted to good looks and women to men with money and power.
    However, before we get carried away, consider honor killings. Impossible to predict that with EP I would think. So while we are imprinted with some behavioral tendencies, there is a lot more to human behavior.

  42. #42 Patricia
    June 25, 2008

    Silly atheists, the Children’s Crusade, Inquisition, witch hunts and enslaving native peoples IS christian science.
    I am pissed about them using PZ as a vile example, and then claiming god had something to do with cancer treatments.

  43. #43 Brian English
    June 25, 2008

    So while we are imprinted with some behavioral tendencies, there is a lot more to human behavior.
    Indeed we are. Take morality for example, we have evolved the ability to keep score, feel outraged when transgressed, etc all which can be explained by evolution and iterative game theory. What can’t be explained by evolution, at least not wholly, is what we hold to be good and bad. This is the product of society and culture. So, evolution can help explain the ‘hardware’, but not the ‘software’ as it were.

    I was never suggesting evolutionary psychology was THE explanation for everything. Just curious as to why I often have seen it derided.

  44. #44 _Arthur
    June 25, 2008

    What are the cancer success rates, in Xtian hospitals, compared to lay hospitals ?
    Why does Egnor thinks that Jewish prayer works too ?
    Are Catholic prayers OK ?

  45. #45 Moses
    June 25, 2008

    Let’s see, we’re, despite Egnor’s blandishments, becoming a more secular nation. Further, according to Dobson, et.al., we’re becoming an eviler nation. So, clearly it’s not Christianity.

    If it’s not Christianity, it must be the work of Satan. The more people that fall away from religion and engage in homosexuality, fornication, porn-wankery and other sins, the better cancer sufferers perform.

    So I think our duty is obvious. In order to help some poor cancer sufferer survive, we need to rush right out and watch some Internet porn. Preferably gay porn. But, I’m sure regular porn will have some effect, too.

    Or maybe snort some coke off a hooker’s ass.

    And we can invite Ted Haggard. Even though he’s, now that he’s been “cured”, gone back to being “completely heterosexual.”

  46. #46 Emmet Caulfield
    June 25, 2008

    Advances, particularly in medicine, were made in spite of the ridiculous befrocked mountebanks of the cloth who objected and frustrated progress at every turn. Now they’re doing it again with stem cell research. If we’d listened to the professed tenets of their Levantine goatherds’ mythology, we’d still be treating cancer by swallowing spiders rolled in butter and throwing turnips at witches.

    I find my gall empty of invective green enough for this skunk-felching gobshite.

  47. #47 Patricia
    June 25, 2008

    Moses, Ted dropped out of the cure…the 2nd cure that is.

  48. #48 Sven DiMilo
    June 25, 2008

    Wait, isn’t this guy a brain surgeon? Like, “scalpel…retractor…sponge…prayer…sponge…”?

  49. #49 Holbach
    June 25, 2008

    What Egnor meant to say was that Science grew out of the dessicated and burnt pile of shit that was religion, was nourished by evolution, and promulgated by rational minds, and established itself as the foremost exponent of rational civilization. What Egnor failed to say was that religion grew out of the primitive cesspit of backward sub-minds that evolution deigned not to waste time with, and propagated itself on the demented insanities of cretinous minds that had fecal matter instead of neurons, which could not evolve into a logical brain, and thence could produce nothing by way of rational thought but only shit and plenty of it. Prayer is but additional shit to keep the staus quo in a continual state of shittiness. So ends the shitty part of this drama.
    Of course churches build hospitals, but those hospitals are staffed with science trained medical doctors, nurses and other support personnel, and a myriad amount of medicines, equipment, and a program of constant updates in medical knowledge. And yet how insanely disingenuous are religious hospitals to have the freaking audacity not to eliminate these services but to provide only a cot and prayers for the recovery of sick and dying patients. Even a rabid religionist when given a choice of a hospital that will most assuredely aid his recovery, or a religious hospital that only offers prayers to aid his likely demise, is never insane enough to choose prayer mumbling idiots. Even that moron Egnor, when pressed to his choice will definitely not choose the prayer sanitarium. This only proves the fact that when a person’s life is at stake, even when that person is a certified moron, is sane enough to choose the rational option. This again only proves how bullshit religion is powerless in the face of stark reality. Pray for me? Like shit you will, mutters the idiot Egnor. Why, don’t you trust your imaginary god to heal you, you freaking heel, you crappy piece of religious drivel? I only wish that that moron and others like him were placed in such a precarious decision, and then we shall observe how denigrated science will be the undisputed choice.

  50. #50 Wowbagger
    June 25, 2008

    I’d like to flashforward a hundred years and see what the Xians are claiming they were responsible for – no doubt things like homosexuality and stem-cell research, which society will have advanced enough to accept, will be amongst the things the churches (if society hasn’t advanced sufficiently to make them unneccessary) claim they were for rather than against.

    No doubt the propoganda will be repeated as often as the ‘eyewitness account’ of PZ’s deathbed conversion…

  51. #51 MZ
    June 25, 2008

    Given these amazing improvements in “prayer technology,” why hasn’t cancer been completely wiped out?

    I’m reminded of those double-blind prayer experiments where whole congregations praying resulted in something like a 1.4% improvement in the outcomes of ill patients. Is that really the kind of God you want to believe in? That massive amounts of prayer produce only the the most marginal of improvements, which may or may not even be statistically significant?

    Doesn’t seem like the kind of God that is worthy of awe, admiration, and worship.

  52. #52 JoJo
    June 25, 2008

    I’d like Egnor to give some statistics on how effective faith and prayer are in regrowing amputated limbs.

  53. #53 BellaB
    June 25, 2008
  54. #54 extatyzoma
    June 25, 2008

    theres a good reason why prayer is often used as a last resort by those who might not otherwise bother with it.

  55. #55 BellaB
    June 25, 2008

    heh, the link I was trying to include was: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/none_so_blind_as_those_who_wil.php

    I probably screwed up the HTML somehow…

  56. #56 Patricia
    June 25, 2008

    #48 – Dammit! There went my sangria out my nose like shite through a goose. Brain surgeon?!
    I’m going outside to twirl…

  57. #57 limes
    June 25, 2008

    Then there is the bit about men being more attracted to good looks and women to men with money and power.

    Hey, look, I’ve already got an N and an O (hell maybe even an I) on the BINGO. I wonder whether I can get a full card by the end of tomorrow.

  58. #58 Capital Dan
    June 25, 2008

    On his blog Egnor “The culture from which science has emerged is Judeo-Christian culture, and modern science has arisen only in Judeo-Christian culture.”

    Doesn’t me mean despite Judeo Christian Culture?

    Ok I got my dig in,

    Posted by: Khedrin

    *golf clap*

    That was nice. I don’t use the standard Olympic scale of judging, but if I did, I’d say you landed a solid 8.

    Anyway, pretty soon Christians are going to say they put a man on the moon, invented the automobile, perfected shoelaces and cured polio. They’re just cute when it they piggyback on the success of other, more-deserving, people.

  59. #59 Sven DiMilo
    June 25, 2008

    Patricia:
    By all means. As the companions of my mis-spent youth used to say, “When in doubt, twirl!”

  60. #61 Kimpatsu
    June 25, 2008

    PZ: Learn to use the apostrophe!!!
    “Its” is the possessive.
    “It’s” is a contraction of “it is”.
    Thank you.

  61. #62 tresmal
    June 25, 2008

    “The hookworm was discovered two or three years ago by a physician, who had been patiently studying its victims for a long time. The disease induced by the hookworm had been doing its evil work here and there in the earth ever since Shem landed at Ararat, but it was never suspected to be a disease at all. The people who had it were merely supposed to be lazy, and were therefore despised and made fun of, when they should have been pitied. The hookworm is a peculiarly sneaking and underhanded invention, and has done its work unmolested for ages; but that physician and his helpers will exterminate it now.
    God is back of this. He has been thinking about it for six thousand years, and making up his mind. The idea of exterminating the hookworm was his. He came very near doing it before Dr. Charles Wardell Stiles did. But he is in time to get the credit of it. He always is.

  62. #63 madder
    June 25, 2008

    Ho-hum. Why do we pay attention to his Egnor-Rant ™ screeds anyway?

  63. #64 JoJo
    June 25, 2008

    I’m tempted to point out two grammatical errors in Kimpatsu’s post #61. But I’ll be nice.

  64. #65 tresmal
    June 25, 2008

    Close quote. That was from Letters From the Earth by Mark Twain (the Victorian Pharyngulite)

  65. #66 MissAgentGirl
    June 25, 2008

    Hey at least some the medical providers operating within these Christian temples to science, appear to be putting the needs of their patients before their heavenly-inspired gate keepers.

    Catholic hospitals betray mission
    http://www.wikileaks.orgwiki/Catholic_hospitals_betray_mission

  66. #67 Azkyroth
    June 25, 2008

    Then there is the bit about men being more attracted to good looks and women to men with money and power.

    It’s certainly the case that many people’s manifest preferences match that characterization to some degree, and not incredible that, even after stripping all the the sociocultural baggage away, there might be some biological bias in each of those directions for each gender, but an epidemic tendency towards A) treating this as a Self-Evident Fact rather than a plausible hypothesis in need of testing and support, and/or B) doing a sort of bait-and-switch with “there might be some biological bias in that direction” and the folk psychology Article of Faith that these tendencies are universal and overwhelming, tend to kill the credibility of those discussing the issue.

  67. #68 mona
    June 25, 2008

    No, see? Egnor’s just learned how to make a fallacious result using an ecological analysis! He noticed that cancer survival rates have been improving in the past few decades, and look here! we also see that the religious right has taken some political power, and televangelists have earned wealth and lots of followers in the past few decades, too! Therefore, on the group level, religiosity and cancer survival are correlated. And that totally means that religiosity causes those improved cancer survival rates. Don’t worry about any of those confounding factors, like scientific advancement, or anything, it’ll just confuse you. And definitely, don’t mind those individual-level observations, sitting in the background, that excessive faith causes people to forgo good medical treatment, and therefore reduce their survival rates. That doesn’t matter. Just keep looking at the group-level correlation while I try to contrive a mechanism for how this might work out. Lol.

    Oh, and my personal favourite piece of Egnor’s post, when he was quoting PZ:

    If we want to cure … cancers…, don’t look to magic, or wishful thinking, or ancient shamanistic wisdom, or prayer — we’ve had those for millennia [sic], and they do nothing…

    Gah! He thinks “millennia” is wrong? I don’t even know how to respond to that.

  68. #69 MissAgentGirl
    June 25, 2008

    DAMMIT! I go again…

    Catholic hospitals betray mission
    http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Catholic_hospitals_betray_mission

  69. #70 Ichthyic
    June 25, 2008

    Science grew in a culture made fertile by Christian (and Jewish) faith and prayer.

    maybe he meant in the sense of bullshit acting as fertilizer?

    In that sense, I’d have to agree:

    Science arose out of the obvious and copious failures of religion to explain just about anything.

  70. #71 H.H.
    June 25, 2008

    It’s just instance of Christians trying to co-opt and take credit for any successful enterprise. For instance, the US Constitution was a document authored by many Enlightenment thinkers of various faiths which centered on the principle of self-rule, primarily by Jefferson, who famously edited out all supernatural occurrences from his bible. Yet today Christians insist that America is a Christian nation that used the 10 commandments as its spiritual basis. This historical revisionism gives them the excuse they need to justify all manner of unconstitutional actions, so it is also one which they do a great deal to promote.

    Likewise, Egnor refuses to acknowledge science’s secular nature and insists its success somehow depends on Christian theology. It’s a lie, of course, but it’s a lie he needs to believe in order to blunt the cutting edge of rationality. By making science subservient and indebted to his dogma, he can pretend revealed religion trumps mere reality. It’s a way of insisting that even the nonreligious owe fealty to his personal superstition.

  71. #72 Helioprogenus
    June 25, 2008

    Egnor is yet another asshole who attempts to distort science to fit his political agenda. For a grown human being to be so completely enamoured with an imaginary fantasy perpetuated through millenia, a large number of brain cells must have to die horrible, senseless deaths. Therefore, it’s hard for me to imagine a grown adult, with all the faculties to speak, and communicate effectively, believing delusional nonesense. They have convinced themselves or are truly lying only to further their personal cause with distorting the truth amongst the ignorant sheep. When your audience is composed of uneducated, illiterate, sanctimonious, and fearfull assholes, there’s no end in how far they’re willing to carry your lying ass on their backs. These supposed Christians and Jews that supposedly helped cultural fertility would be better off locked in a tight room arguing about their interpretation of some imaginary omnipotent deity, while the rest of us adults, can actually attempt to make the world a better place. When these religious fucks actually shut the fuck up and see their use of medicine, transportation, technology and other such factors that contribute to their comforting lives, perhaps they’ll come to appreciate what hard working individuals can accomplish when they focus on reason, empirical evidence, and the real world.

  72. #73 kcrady
    June 25, 2008

    So many misconceptions in Egnor’s piece, where to begin?

    Egnor:

    Advances in science and cancer treatment emerged, not from science in isolation, but from a culture that made science possible and that directed the fruits of scientific work toward good and compassionate goals. The culture from which science has emerged is Judeo-Christian culture, and modern science has arisen only in Judeo-Christian culture. Why has science been so closely linked to this specific culture?

    First of all, he completely misses the point of the PZ post he quoted:

    If we want to cure … cancers…, don’t look to magic, or wishful thinking, or ancient shamanistic wisdom, or prayer — we’ve had those for millennia [sic], and they do nothing…What we need is more research, more doctors, more clinical trials, and more money.

    In other words, what PZ is saying is that science works, magic (prayers, incantations, etc.) doesn’t. If Egnor had wanted to actually respond to PZ’s argument, he would have come forth with evidence that prayer does work as a healing modality, and that it might, for example, be a good idea to take a child with cancer to John of God, rather than St. Jude’s Hospital.

    Instead, he ducks PZ’s point and argues that the “culture” of “Judeo-Christian” belief favors the development of medical science and the funding of hospitals. Even if his argument were incontrovertible (it isn’t), the very most it would prove is that Judaism and Christianity are Noble Lies that help create a better society. His argument does nothing to validate the contention that the Abrahamic god, angels, devils, and the like actually exist and have real power in the world.

    Unfortunately for Egnor, it just isn’t so that “Judeo-Christian” religion and culture are responsible for the birth of science, medical or otherwise. First of all, it should be pointed out that Christianity is the bastard child of Greek philosophy/mysticism and ancient Jewish dogmatism. All of the “sophisticated” theology existed long before Christianity in Hellenistic thought.

    The very idea of attempting rational arguments to validate belief in a god or elucidate its attributes is foreign to the Bible, but a staple of Greek philosophy. The “rational god” who creates an orderly Universe operating according to rationally comprehensible mathematical and geometric principles is the god of Pythagoras, Plato, and Plotinus, not the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    Has he failed to notice that doctors take the Hippocratic Oath? “Hippocrates” doesn’t sound like a Biblical prophet to me. Or that the symbol used to represent the medical profession is the Cadeuceus, the staff of Hermes? The scientists at Alexandria were producing steam engines, mechanical computers, and programmable robots, for cryin’ out loud. And who was it that burnt the Library down? Oh, yeah, those pro-science Christians led by “Saint” Cyril.

    The Bible does not proclaim the existence of an orderly natural Universe in which science would be efficacious. It is filled from stem to stern with tales of talking animals, magicians turning staffs into serpents, healing-by-exorcism, and magic powers. The Bible is full of exhortations to trust God instead of human action, and proposes medical advice like the following:

    Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

    –James 5:14-15

    In a nutshell, if you extract the infusion of Greek philosophy from “Judeo-Christian” culture, what you’ve got left is primitive, anti-scientific superstition and magic. It would make more sense to call it “Greco-Christian” culture. And it’s the “Greco-” that gave us our science, not the “Christian.”

    Egnor attributes the founding of St. Jude’s Hospital to Danny Thomas’ prayer. Maybe so, but the question arises: who answered Danny Thomas’ prayer? Egnor includes no mention of apparitions of deities, or angels providing Thomas with acting lessons. Why should “god” get all the credit for Danny Thomas’ hard work in pursuing his acting career? Danny Thomas answered Danny Thomas’ prayer, not “god.”

    Let’s be generous and grant that “belief-in-god” provided Danny Thomas with the strength of will to keep trying after each tryout rejection, etc. until he became a success, and motivated him to fund St. Jude’s instead of building a bigger mansion. All that says is that Catholicism works really well as a Noble Lie. It provides no evidence for the existence of Catholic deities, saints, etc..

    By that standard, one could point out that belief in Amun-Re, Isis, Osiris, etc. motivated the construction of engineering marvels like the Pyramids and the Temple of Karnak, and the creation of a stable culture that endured for 4,000 years. Compared to that, Catholicism is still in short pants. Should we all go worship Amun-Re and Hathor now?

  73. #74 Wowbagger
    June 25, 2008

    Can someone do up one of those ‘demotivational’ posters, you know, the sort with the picture above a pithy saying?

    Liars for Jesus?:
    There are no depths to which we won’t stoop.
  74. #75 Lightnin
    June 25, 2008

    The remarkable progress in the treatment of cancer in the past several decades had a lot to do with faith and prayer.

    Oh really, remarkable progress? If the effect is so significant then perhaps you’d like to conduct a double blind trial of the efficacy of “Prayer” on cancer patients. It wouldn’t be that hard, just get cancer patients with similar cancers and prognoses, tell both groups of patients that they will have a group of volunteers pray for them for half an hour each day in a room next door.

    The first group would be praying hard to their God to help the patient get better, where as the placebo group would just sit around and read a book, do the New York Times crossword etc. etc.

    There are a few problems though with experimental variables such as (and not limited to);

    1. Which God?

    2. Which denomination?

    3. Is it necessary that the volunteers be theistic? What if they are actually Atheists/Catholics/Jews/Queers*, will their prayers still reach God, or will they go unnoticed. Even worse, what happens if they pray to the wrong God, and make the real God/Gods/IPU/FSM mad and cause the cancer to get worse?

    4. Does the patient have to be theistic? Do they have to be a good person? What if they are a good person but not theistic? What if they are a bad person but are theistic? What about if they are a bisexual, transgender culturally jewish but atheist evolutionary biologist?

    Since Mr Egnor has failed to provide a specific mechanism, much less a broad mechanism to describe the action of prayer and christianity on the treatment of cancer, and has failed to provide any quantitative evidence that prayer improves the survival rates for cancer sufferers such an experiment may be difficult to design.

    Indeed, the entire premise of his argue can summarise with one of his quotes;

    The application of science to care for the sick presupposes the view that we have an ethical obligation to help the weakest among us.**

    And then makes the leap that because atheists think that a magical sky fairy might not be the only place to get a sense of morality, judeo-christianity is necessary for a compassionate use of science.

    Well you can just go ahead and suck my cock Egnor. I grow tired of being told that without your sercurity camera in the sky and goat-hearding myths I’d be running around raping and murdering people, and modern medicine would be more concerned with weight loss and impotence drugs…oh wait, scratch that last one.

    *Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and any other private consensual feeling or behaviour that makes baby Jesus cry.

    **Woah, whats the deal with the text on the DI site? I had to type it in manually as it wouldn’t let my copy and paste.

  75. #76 Yoo
    June 25, 2008

    By that standard, one could point out that belief in Amun-Re, Isis, Osiris, etc. motivated the construction of engineering marvels like the Pyramids and the Temple of Karnak, and the creation of a stable culture that endured for 4,000 years. Compared to that, Catholicism is still in short pants. Should we all go worship Amun-Re and Hathor now?

    Yes.

  76. #77 Holbach
    June 25, 2008

    Here is something to share on a related topic; it is comical yet indictative of the current bullshit religion.

    I have been reading quite a few of the books in the past weeks by the author Andrei Codrescu, whom some of you may know as a commentator on NPR’s “All Things Considered’. I am currently reading his book, “The Devil Never Sleeps, And Other Essays”. This essay is titled “Animals: The Thin Furry Line Between Us And The Devil”. He humorizes that the animals are laughing at us humans for the many silly things we do, and gives several examples why this is so funny as they see it. Among reasons: “Sixth, animals crack up when they see humans imagining themselves living after death in all kinds of perfect places that resemble luxory hotels, or, on the contrary, roasting forever in fires of pitch and guilt. Animals watch people go into big, empty buildings called churches and talk to themselves in there, until they are so impressed with themselves that they try to convince others to come to their building. When others refuse to follow them, they sometimes kill them.”
    Those very animals would be rolling on the ground if they observed the antics of Comfort, Egnor and the many more idiotic religious dolts who give humans a bad name!

  77. #78 mona
    June 25, 2008

    #74– I’m working on it now. In the meantime, here’s something the Image Google gave me.

  78. #79 Patricia
    June 26, 2008

    #59 – Sven – Thankyou ever so much! That’s exactly what I ment…I feel better now. :)
    The christians are so happy to forget what they have said through history, they think we should forget too. No chance.
    Socrates died for speaking out, Hypatia was flayed in the streets for speaking the truth, book burnings & lieing didn’t work then, it isn’t going to work now. This jackass wants to take credit for the very science the church has killed for? Sappho and Oscar Wilde were discredited and driven to the ground for not conforming. Bullshit.

  79. #80 mona
    June 26, 2008

    #74– I’m working on it now. In the meantime, here’s something the Image Google gave me.

    done.

  80. #81 Patricia
    June 26, 2008

    #80 – Mona – Perfect! When does the tee shirt go on sale? :)

  81. #82 JD
    June 26, 2008

    Well, as the old saying goes, “A pair of hands at work has done more than a million hands clasped in prayer.”

    I have little doubt Egnor has become an embarrassment to his institution and colleagues (not unlike Behe). His students (and patients) have my sympathies.

  82. #83 Rob Davidson
    June 26, 2008

    I’ve yet to hear any good arguments for what is really wrong with evolutionary psychology, or that limit it to an “academic exercise”. Most of the problems with it seem to be based on ideologically-driven straw-man arguments from the likes of Steven Rose.

  83. #84 Wowbagger
    June 26, 2008

    Mona, #80:

    That’s awesome. Well done. I’ve always loved the very clean and shiny anglo-saxon jesus images – since that’s nothing like he would have looked. Well, had he existed in the first place…

    And isn’t there something in the bible about him condemning having long hair?

  84. #85 Sven DiMilo
    June 26, 2008

    I tried to make the case for the legitimacy of evolutionary psychology (done right) over here a while back; it wasn’t too appreciated.

  85. #86 CanadianChick
    June 26, 2008

    I love it when the fundy whackadoos try to throw a bone to their buddies, the Jews, but get it all wrong…

  86. #87 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    June 26, 2008

    So, what are the controls that we can use to compare with Egnor’s baseline? I’d suggest:

    (a) Cancer survival rates of Christian scientists. (All faith, little medicine.)
    (b) Cancer survival rates for the Japanese. (Largely non-Christian sample; first world country.)
    (c) Cancer survival rates for Saudi citizens. (Largely non-Christian sample; access to first world medicine.)
    (d) Cancer Survival rates for Western Europeans. (State-run or paid for medicine. Nominally Christian, but greater rates of apostasy than the US.)

  87. #88 Azkyroth
    June 26, 2008

    I’ve yet to hear any good arguments for what is really wrong with evolutionary psychology, or that limit it to an “academic exercise”. Most of the problems with it seem to be based on ideologically-driven straw-man arguments from the likes of Steven Rose.

    Funny, most of the arguments I’ve heard against it are based on the actual arguments deployed by its proponents in public venues, such as those satirized by the post I linked, and the transparent motivations of those proponents.

  88. #89 Patricia
    June 26, 2008

    I have the good fortune to live in a four generation family still tied to the farm. My little pre-school great grand nieces did not believe that “our chickens” are the same as chicken sold at KFC or in stores in packages to BBQ.
    When the moment of truth came – and I told them the truth, my poor little girls burst into tears and hugged the hens tighter. They had been told in Sunday school that ‘everything you love goes to heaven with Jesus’.
    Egnor, Behe, the Pope, and that yellow bellied sissy D’sousa are responsible for this child abuse.
    Chickens have no idea of heaven. Thats a batshit lie. Thanks christians.

  89. #90 arghous
    June 26, 2008

    I’m glad God is getting around to cancer. He needed a break from diabetes, TB, polio, etc.

  90. #91 djlactin
    June 26, 2008

    Egnor makes much of the fact that churches built hospitals

    So if prayer works, why do they need to do this?

    Cognitive dissonance…

  91. #92 NRT
    June 26, 2008

    I’ll put research such as the following up against any god-bothering prayer junkie any time!

    What CGC does:
    “The Comparative Genomics Centre is a medical research centre…..
    The overall aim of the Centre is to use a variety of genetic models to study human disease from an evolutionary perspective.

    The central hypothesis behind the work of the Comparative Genomics Centre is that those genes that have been performing the same function through-out evolutionary history are unlikely to be involved in common diseases. Such genes may, however, be involved in catastrophic genetic accidents, which would appear as rare inherited diseases associated with a single gene defect.

    In contrast, traits which are newly evolved are less likely to be encoded by well adapted genes and may be associated with common diseases that exhibit complex genetics.

    By studying life processes in coral or flys, we can learn how the same events occur in the human body – and how they go awry when disease strikes. For example, by studying the genetics of yeast, coral, fruit fly, mice and humans, the Comparative Genomics Centre aims to distinguish genes involved in self/non self discrimination that have been conserved through evolution from those that have arisen only recently, with a view to comparing their disease associations.
    The research performed in the centre enhances our understanding of the processes involved in cancer, birth defects, immune compromised states and autoimmune disease.”

    http://www.jcu.edu.au/school/pms/CGC/CGC_HP.html

    Proudly, I have been, and am taught by the above people.

    p.s. I will admit I have prayed to the FSM on occasion that I wouldn’t stuff up experiments entailing use of very expensive reagents…..I think He was drunk a few times though!

  92. #93 Jason
    June 26, 2008

    Egnor uses example after example of hospitals (mostly christian with a few jewish ones tagged on near the end) that provide excellent medical care and conduct sound scientific research to show how the Christian faith’s compassion and caring nature has lead to an increase in medical care. Though he includes them in a long list, he fails to mention why some institutions like Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC were founded (which for the sake of full disclosure, I recently graduated from.) Mount Sinai was founded in the mid-1800s because the hospitals of the time in NYC, which were mostly Christian-based hospitals refused to accommodate the needs of religious jews as patients and as health care workers such as having kosher food available. It was created not out of caring compassion by christians, but rather to serve the needs of those that were not served by Christian-run hospitals who’s religious beliefs that kept them from providing health services to those of other religious affiliations.

  93. #94 NRT
    June 26, 2008

    Ooops…forgive bad gramdmar!

  94. #95 tomh
    June 26, 2008

    H.H. @ #71 wrote:
    the US Constitution was a document authored by many Enlightenment thinkers of various faiths which centered on the principle of self-rule, primarily by Jefferson, …

    Jefferson was not present at the Constitutional Convention where the Constitution was written and had nothing to do with authoring it.

  95. #96 Ichthyic
    June 26, 2008

    Jefferson was not present at the Constitutional Convention where the Constitution was written and had nothing to do with authoring it.

    I think where that came from is that people often confuse Jefferson’s contributions to the DoI with the Constitution.

    as an aside…

    did anybody catch the HBO special on Adams?

  96. #97 Aaron Boruff
    June 26, 2008

    uh… have these people heard of Ancient Greece?

  97. #98 Robert Byers
    June 26, 2008

    Is this the quality of Myers work elsewhere.
    First Eugenics was a evolution crowd idea that was rejected by Christian america if not a establishment impressed by the science of people selection.
    Of coarse Christianity is behind the rise in intelligence in the world. Actually it was from the Protestant reformation and since largely led by the Evangelical wing. Thats why the British people, English/Scottish, rose to top spot in all things where man compares himself.
    Evangelicalism was more successfull and influential in the Englisspeaking world and is the dye of revealation of why we prevailed over all men in achievement and as a reflection on our intelligence and character.
    Faith is the great reason for the use of what is called science in the modern world.
    The true faith is the source of special blessing and motivation that all the world profits from today.
    This Myers guy couldn’t be more wrong. Perhaps more where that comes from.

  98. #99 H.H.
    June 26, 2008

    Yep, tomh, sorry. I was thinking of the Declaration of Independence. Still, my basic point stands. Mention of the Christian god can be found nowhere in the Constitution.

  99. #100 Nick Gotts
    June 26, 2008

    Wait, isn’t this guy a brain surgeon?

    Well he’s not getting his scalpel into any brain of mine!

  100. #101 Nick Gotts
    June 26, 2008

    Then there is the bit about men being more attracted to good looks and women to men with money and power.

    And of course there’s no such word as “gigolo”, and it’s absolutely unknown for unattractive and elderly but rich gay men to team up with young, attractive toy boys!

  101. #102 LaTomate
    June 26, 2008

    I thought science came from the enlightenment… which originated in Arabo-Islamic science during the middle ages. We should all speak Arabic and convert to Islam then.

    Oh wait… Arabo-Islamic science came from the Greeks. I guess we should all speak Greek and worship Aphrodite (I wouldn’t mind… I heard they had great orgies at the time).

    Oh wait… Greek culture came from the Babylonians. Oh wait… the Babylonians came from the Sumerians…

    Where was Jesus then?

  102. #103 Nick Gotts
    June 26, 2008

    Robert Byers@98 It’s odd, then, that the rise of modern science and the decline of Christian belief have coincided so exactly in time. However, I’d agree with you that history isn’t as simple as “Christianity obstructed science”, and that Protestantism in particular, with its emphasis on the wider availability of the Bible, had a lot to do with the increase in literacy in western Europe that was one of the foundations of modern science and, ironically, the subsequent decline of Christian belief in western Europe.

  103. #104 aarrgghh
    June 26, 2008

    The remarkable progress in the treatment of cancer in the past several decades had a lot to do with faith and prayer.

    silly me! all this time i was convinced the magic bullet was all the sodomy committed on altar boys …

  104. #105 Gibbon1
    June 26, 2008

    “As for eugenics, that wasn’t good science to begin with, and it was endorsed by evangelical Christians. Their god seems to be no better at leading people into right action than no god at all.”

    Problem with eugenics is twofold.

    First is the concept of negative productivity, that some individuals are not only unproductive, but in fact destroy the work of others, the damage done increasing with the power and status of the offender. Arguably it is the negatively productive members of society that are the biggest drag on it. And those people are not found in institutions, on the welfare rolls, or drunk on the street.

    Second is that eugenics, like the writings of Ayn Rand are most attractive to people that society as a whole would be better off without.

  105. #106 Masks of Eris
    June 26, 2008

    Egnor? Brain surgeon?

    This is in bad taste, but the first thing I thought of was:

    “Is it safe?”

    (As in the book/movie Marathon Man.)

  106. #107 Barry Pearson
    June 26, 2008

    Yes, science was strongly influenced in its current form by the Enlightenment.

    The Enlightenment did arise in a few European countries which were largely Christian.

    It arose as a reaction to dogma, doctrine, authoritarian thinking and rule, and intolerance. The Enlightenment came about in spite of Christianity, and was opposed by religious organisations.

  107. #108 NRT
    June 26, 2008

    @Robert Byers #98
    “First Eugenics was a evolution crowd idea that was rejected by Christian america if not a establishment impressed by the science of people selection.”

    Really? I thought eugenics was condoned in the HoLey BoOk.
    Deuteronomy 20: “completely destroy them–the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites–as the LORD your God has commanded you.”

    Leviticus 21: “No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles”.

    Eugenics in History and the Bible
    http://primordial-log.blogspot.com/2007/12/eugenics-in-history-and-bible.html

  108. #109 Logicel
    June 26, 2008

    The nicest comment I can make regarding Egnor and Byers #98 is that they are cryptomnesiacs.

    But I am not in a nice mood. The plagiarism, creative and scientific theft, intellectual dishonesty, slander, libel, and fraud which are committed with such disgusting glibness by the pathetic panderers to the Ponzi scheme that is Christianity are the basis for legal proceedings, and their arses should be sued from here to eternity.

  109. #110 Ex Partiate
    June 26, 2008

    If I am ever unfortunate enough to have a cancer I hope I cah find an Oncologist who is an Atheist, that way I know treatment will be based on reason

  110. #111 Christophe Thill
    June 26, 2008

    Centuries ago, people had much more faith than today. They prayed much harder: when you’re a fisherman or a peasant, the weather can be a matter of life and death, and meteorology didn’t exist, so that left only one option. Almost everybody went to church regularly and showed due respect; all the more because, if you didn’t, very nasty things could sometimes happen to you. The whole fabric of society was religous.

    And cancer? Well, it’s true, there wasn’t a lot of it. But it’s only because people died so young.

  111. #112 negentropyeater
    June 26, 2008

    How does he explain that average life expectancy is higher in countries where Christian faith has decreased the fastest over the last fifty years (such as France, Sweden, Netherlands) than in the USA where Christian faith has remained very high ?
    That’s kind of a fucking major problem for his crazy theories isn’t it ?

    Has God actually decided that he likes more those countries where a majority of the population becomes atheist or non religious ?
    Isn’t obvious that God is just really fed up with all these ignorant idiots who keep worshiping a completely childish image of him fabulated by some very very backwards thinking antique mesopotamian goatherders and he just can’t wait for them to give it up ?

  112. #113 Moses
    June 26, 2008

    kcrady @ 73:

    Or that the symbol used to represent the medical profession is the Cadeuceus, the staff of Hermes?

    It’s also the symbol of God’s wife, Asheroth back in the 1000+ years the culturally distinct Canaanites (known as Isralies) were primarily known as “the Jews.” Once the monotheist Judean Jews got the crown, they decided to kick her (and Gods’ kids) out of the pantheon and go monotheist in the 7th Century BC by re-writing much of their bible.

    But I don’t think Egnor would go there!

    But what the god-bots won’t do is accept this. Even though if you ever study ancient religions of the Mediterranean and mid-east, with an open mind, you can see how all these myths were borrowed from each other. It’s as obvious as a coal-pile in a ballroom that much of Judaism and Christianity are ripped off, often close to whole cloth, from other religions.

    Anyway, I blab and I need more coffee.

  113. #114 clinteas
    June 26, 2008

    Please tell me No 98 is a Poe,please…..

    //Of coarse Christianity is behind the rise in intelligence in the world. Actually it was from the Protestant reformation and since largely led by the Evangelical wing. Thats why the British people, English/Scottish, rose to top spot in all things where man compares himself.//

    Please……

  114. #115 negentropyeater
    June 26, 2008

    Robert Byers, #98

    are you the author of that piece of NeoCon dreck ;
    http://watchmanswords.blogspot.com/

    If it’s you, your comment doesn’t surprise me at all. When one has such a severe mental handicap, it’s clear one is going to get everything in history screwed up.

  115. #116 negentropyeater
    June 26, 2008

    Clinteas, unfortunately I don’t think it’s a Poe. see his blog. And he even writes books !

    http://www.bythewaybooks.bravehost.com/

  116. #117 Dianne
    June 26, 2008

    First Eugenics was a evolution crowd idea that was rejected by Christian america

    Eugenics wasn’t rejected by the US. Many states sterilized children on orders from state eugenics boards well into the 1950s. Possibly later. There may still be state eugenics boards, for all I know.

  117. #118 Holbach
    June 26, 2008

    Just watched some awful dreck on CBS News on the net: “Feng Shui for Pets”. What is down right infuriating is that these retards who proscribe this crap are adamant that we all should buy it! Oh crap! Feng Shui for Comfort and Robert Byers. It will show them where the invisible energies will do them the least good: in their skulls!

  118. #119 clinteas
    June 26, 2008

    Neg,
    just spewed into my wineglass reading the dreck the guy writes.

    /Twenty-two character building stories for children that teach valuable principles for godly living while also being fun and entertaining./

    Holbach wont become his best friend anymore methinks LOL !

  119. #120 negentropyeater
    June 26, 2008

    Robert Byers #98,

    1. Eugenics was a evolution crowd idea that was rejected by Christian america if not a establishment impressed by the science of people selection.
    COMPLETELY FALSE

    2. Christianity is behind the rise in intelligence in the world
    COMPLETELY FALSE

    3. Actually it was from the Protestant reformation and since largely led by the Evangelical wing.
    FALSE

    4. Thats why the British people, English/Scottish, rose to top spot in all things where man compares himself.
    FALSE

    5. Evangelicalism was more successfull and influential in the Englisspeaking world and is the dye of revealation of why we prevailed over all men in achievement and as a reflection on our intelligence and character.
    COMPLETELY FALSE

    6. Faith is the great reason for the use of what is called science in the modern world.
    COMPLETELY FALSE

    7. The true faith is the source of special blessing and motivation that all the world profits from today.
    MEANINGLESS

    So there are here 7 statements made by this severly deluded and sick individual Mr Byers (more product of his delusions can be seen on his blog and his books see my posts 115 & 116).
    We could indeed spend some time trying to explain to him why each and every one of these statements is false or meaningless.
    But please keep in mind that this Mr Byers has most probably already spent quite some time reading and studying history, but that all this time, his highly selective brain and all the mental biasies created by his delusions have just kept reinforcing themselves, so that whatever he reads will just convince him even more that his rationalizations are the correct ones.

  120. #121 Jason Failes
    June 26, 2008

    “Science grew in a culture made fertile by Christian (and Jewish) faith and prayer.”

    This delusion is like an onion. Let’s try to peel back a few layers:

    1) The first glimmerings of the scientific method actually arose in the arabic world (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Haytham ).

    So do we credit science to the empirical impact of the Koran on culture? Of course not. For those who would say science started earlier, with the ancient Greeks, same question, but replace Koran with Greek polytheism. The Christian world is, in any case, a late comer to science.

    2) Speaking of which, the Christian world was not a “culture made fertile” for science, but actively against many forms of science, such as anatomy and, as we all know, astronomy. This resistance to science has been one of the most consistent aspects of the Christian religion, painfully continuing even until the present day.

    Christianity did not plow the fields to make way for science, it salted the Earth, and science, persistent weed that it is, grew anyway.

    3) Just because science “came of age” in Christian Europe, does not mean that science owes religion anything. To think that is to miss one of the most beautiful things about science, its universality. Facts are facts wherever you go, and scientific disciplines converge (unlike religions which always diverge) in any place that allows any free inquiry.

    It is especially telling that even though modern science “came of age” in Christian Europe, and began with the default hypotheses of Biblical Christianity, it quickly moved away from those ideas to those often slandered as “atheistic” today.

    So I ask, how could Christian scientists, working in a Christian culture, starting from Christian assumptions, and in many cases trying to find God, or prove the Bible, or “know the mind of God”, ever, ever, travel so far from their origins to the definitely unbiblical theories we have today?

    Because science was driven by their observations, not just their ideas.

    The facts dragged us, many kicking and screaming, away from Biblical ideas about the world to more accurate conceptions.

    And that, Egnor, is what kicks your whole stance right in the groin: History has given you almost a natural control group to see what would happen if literally hundreds of years of Christian scientists tried to prove the biblical version of the world true, and the result is the “godless science” we have today.

  121. #122 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 26, 2008

    I’m beginning to entertain the notion that Egnor is a parodist. And Byers too (look at where B and M are on your keyboard).

    I’m tempted to point out two grammatical errors in Kimpatsu’s post #61.

    There are none there.

    And isn’t there something in the bible about him condemning having long hair?

    No, that’s Paul — but long hair is the medieval mark of a free man in general and a king in particular.

  122. #123 ukmart
    June 26, 2008

    Robert Byers #98,

    I took the trouble to visit your blog. I spotted that you are dealing with a personal crisis, for which you have my sincere sympathy. I can’t help noticing that your family is not relying entirely on prayer, however….

    But a couple of comments in your latest blog entry caught my eye. You have to confront what you are actually saying. First up:

    “Turning 46 isn’t nearly as bad as the alternative!”

    How can you say this, with every birthday simply delaying your passage to heaven? Do you really believe what you assert every day or were you just not thinking clearly?

    You also said:

    “The man most people expect to be Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor said (seriously, I’m not making this up) that Winnie the Pooh is a very useful treatise on international relations. Boy I just can’t wait for the second Carter term to start. Wonder how many Americans will die because of the Boy Wonder’s fabulist world view.”

    I believe Bush asserts that God told him it was right to invade Iraq. Wonder how many Americans and Iraqis died because of his fabulist world view – also based on a childish work of fiction.

    At least there is compelling evidence that bears do actually exist, and that they are partial to honey, even if they don’t talk and hang out with kangaroos.

  123. #124 Dianne
    June 26, 2008

    Thats why the British people, English/Scottish, rose to top spot in all things where man compares himself.
    FALSE

    False and completely ridiculous. Everyone knows that the people of New York are in the top spot, the people to whom all humanity compares itself. If you don’t believe me, read the Economist’s yearly statistical report. What city is the standard comparator, the 100 on every scale? Not London or Edinburough, but New York.

  124. #125 kryptonic
    June 26, 2008

    So, Egnor is saying that a lot of hospitals are named after “saints,” therefore faith and prayer must be the reason cancer survival rates have increased. OK. Makes perfect sense.

  125. #126 Dianne
    June 26, 2008

    I believe Bush asserts that God told him it was right to invade Iraq. Wonder how many Americans and Iraqis died because of his fabulist world view – also based on a childish work of fiction.

    The number of Iraqi dead is an issue of some controversy. However, it is certain that More Americans died due to Bush’s decision than died in the 9/11 attacks. Though I suppose you could say that the American deaths were the Iraqis fault: they fought back when the US invaded instead of just lying back and taking it, like all good non-American countries are supposed to when the US comes invading.

  126. #127 SC
    June 26, 2008

    Everyone knows that the people of New York are in the top spot, the people to whom all humanity compares itself.

    Come now. All thinking people know that’s Boston/Cambridge. :)

  127. #128 Dianne
    June 26, 2008

    Come now. All thinking people know that’s Boston/Cambridge. :)

    Ok, this debate could get ugly;). Can we just agree that it’s clearly not the British and leave it at that?

  128. #129 SC
    June 26, 2008

    Ok, this debate could get ugly;). Can we just agree that it’s clearly not the British and leave it at that?

    Agreed, willingly. :P

  129. #130 Moses
    June 26, 2008

    False and completely ridiculous. Everyone knows that the people of New York are in the top spot, the people to whom all humanity compares itself. If you don’t believe me, read the Economist’s yearly statistical report. What city is the standard comparator, the 100 on every scale? Not London or Edinburough, but New York.

    Posted by: Dianne | June 26, 2008 9:12 AM

    I know that survey. New York is used as a base 100%. Which is why everything is at 100%.

    And which is why San Francisco comes in at about 104% to 106% and has, on more than one occasion, won “Top City in the World” based on that scale.

    Think of all the positives of New York. Then get rid of the crappy traffic issues, the crappy attitude issues, reduce the urban-spread issues, improving the housing issues, adjust for the crappy weather issues and, voila, you have San Francisco.

  130. #131 Dianne
    June 26, 2008

    Think of all the positives of New York. Then get rid of the crappy traffic issues, the crappy attitude issues, reduce the urban-spread issues, improving the housing issues, adjust for the crappy weather issues and, voila, you have San Francisco.

    Even at risk of losing the argument, I have to admit that I loved San Francisco the one time I was there. Zürich, another high scoring city, is great too. And I’m sure my view of London is incredibly biased, given that all I’ve seen of it is Heathrow. It’s probably quite nice once you leave the airport. Yes, there are cities that are in one way or another better than NYC: cleaner, better weather, less traffic, less expensive, better attitude, etc. But New York City is THE City, the ultimate standard, the city by which all other citie are judged. (And yet, living as I do for the moment, in a small European city that few have heard of and even fewer would hold up as the ultimate city, I don’t miss it.)

  131. #132 negentropyeater
    June 26, 2008

    Dianne,

    Everyone knows that the people of New York are in the top spot, the people to whom all humanity compares itself. If you don’t believe me, read the Economist’s yearly statistical report. What city is the standard comparator, the 100 on every scale? Not London or Edinburough, but New York.

    So what, you’ve just shown that the Economist, a magazine written in english, uses New York as reference indicator for the purpose of various socio-economic comparisons (cost of living, etc..). I can assure you, if you read a Japanese one, you’d probably find Tokyo as reference, a french one, Paris, etc…

    What’s ridiculous is that notion of a “top spot” or a location to whom all humanity compares itself to or aspires to, it simply only exists in the imagination of people who are obsessed with such notions as exceptionalism.

  132. #133 Dianne
    June 26, 2008

    negetropyeater: Adjust your irony meter. Of course there is no real absolute standard for humanity. I was making fun of the idea (and New York’s reputation). The wording was making fun of #98′s reference to the English/Scottish as the pinnacle of humanity.

  133. #134 negentropyeater
    June 26, 2008

    Dianne,

    But New York City is THE City, the ultimate standard, the city by which all other citie are judged.

    Ah yes ? And on which basis do you make this statement ?

  134. #135 Epinephrine
    June 26, 2008

    @51

    I’m not familiar with positive results for prayer, but the STEP study was a fun one, 1802 patients.

    “CONCLUSIONS: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG (coronary artery bypass graft), but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.”

    You go guys – not only was prayer unhelpful, but knowing that you are prayed for actually caused complications. Of course, maybe if they had just prayed for God to perform heart bypasses it might have worked better.

    Benson H, Dusek JA, Sherwood JB, et al. (2006). Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: a multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer. American Heart Journal. Apr;151(4):934-42

  135. #136 negentropyeater
    June 26, 2008

    gotcha

    (remember that tongue-and-cheekness can be tricky on the web)

  136. #137 SC
    June 26, 2008

    (And yet, living as I do for the moment, in a small European city that few have heard of and even fewer would hold up as the ultimate city, I don’t miss it.)

    Neither do I, particularly. But now you have me missing Sevilla. *sigh*

  137. #138 Iain Walker
    June 26, 2008

    Robert Byers (#98):

    First Eugenics was a evolution crowd idea that was rejected by Christian america if not a [sic] establishment impressed by the science of people selection.

    Some Christians rejected eugenics, others embraced it as part of the process of the moral reformation of society. For instance, see:
    http://www.ethicsandmedicine.com/18/2/18-2-durst.htm

    Of coarse [sic] Christianity is behind the rise in intelligence in the world. Actually it was from the Protestant reformation and since largely led by the Evangelical wing. Thats [sic] why the British people, English/Scottish, rose to top spot [sic] in all things where man compares himself.

    Evangelical Christianity was far from mainstream during the formative years of the British Empire (late 18th-early 19th century), and exercised little influence on its early development. When evangelicalism became more mainsteam in the mid-late 19th century, its influence was mixed – sometimes opposing imperialism (or at least its more overt excesses), sometimes encouraging it.

    And if evangelicalism can take credit for the success of British imperialism, then you can’t avoid the collary – that evangelicalism was consequently implicated in exploitation, aggression and numerous atrocities. It’s also rather interesting that when evangelicalism (in the form of “Muscular Christianity”) was at its most influential in British imperial ideology, in the late 19th century, this was also the time when British imperialism was at its most racist and Social Darwinistic. I’m not suggesting a causal relationship, but the correlation sits ill with your claims that eugenics and related ideas were rejected by Christians.

    We Brits didn’t rise to the “top spot” by being nice. We rose to the top spot by being ruthless, devious and bloody-minded, and Christianity proved to be a remarkably useful tool in furthering imperial goals and justifying imperial means. And you think that’s to Christianity’s credit?

    Evangelicalism was more successfull [sic] and influential in the Englisspeaking [sic] world and is the dye [sic?] of revealation [sic] of why we prevailed over all men in achievement and as a reflection on our intelligence and character.

    You’re a regular little Colonel Blimp, aren’t you?

    Except Colonel Blimp could probably pass a basic English composition test. Kind of ironic, for someone who’s so big on the English-speaking world.

  138. #139 negentropyeater
    June 26, 2008

    Dianne,
    now you got me all blushing…
    tricky girl

  139. #140 Dianne
    June 26, 2008

    Ah yes ? And on which basis do you make this statement ?

    It’s the city referenced in “Sex and the City.” (There. No one can mistake that for anything but satire, can they?)

  140. #141 raven
    June 26, 2008

    Thats why the British people, English/Scottish, rose to top spot in all things where man compares himself.

    Total nonsense. WRONG!!! History says it is Californians.

    Ever hear of Hollywood? Silicon Valley? Genentech? Napa county? California is the world leader in biotech, electronics, and entertainment. So much so that they turned whole counties into vinyards so they had something to drink after work. In fact, much of Asian including China is merely an economic colony of theirs, where they make all the stuff invented here.

    C’mon when is the last time anyone drank a good English wine or bought a British made computer?

  141. #142 Holbach
    June 26, 2008

    Dianne @ 124 & 128 I have to agree with you on New York being without equal in almost every respect, both great and bad. I was born in Buffalo but moved to New York and lived in all the five boroughs, including two in Manhattan. To me, it is the greatest city on the planet, and I say this while living in the Boston area. There are more superlatives associated with this incredible city, and I particularly emphasize the island of Manhattan, an island without equal on the globe. It would take forever to list Manhattan’s unequivocal tomes to greatness, but my good friend Isaac Asimov eloquently describes it with such simplicity and depth;

    “New York, even in decline, bears a ravaged beauty that still marks it’s greatness; and what it has been, no other place will ever be.”

    And when I think of Manhattan, I visualize it in the 1920′s and 1930′s, long before my birth, when that peerless island was awash with the Jazz and music of those incredible two decades, the composers, the writers, and all the other people that have made Manhattan their home, the music that has been written for and about Manhattan, the incomparable museums of all types, and the one facet that epitomises Manhattan above all superlatives of any other city, the beautiful and various forms of architecture that has graced Manhattan, and sadly (sob) have been demolished to pave the way for everquestioned progress. More buildings have been demolished in Manahttan alone than any other city, and this is not viewed as a thing to be proud of, particularly the destruction of the great Pennsylvania Station and the Singer Building, both of which can never be duplicated and reside in print and that cache of regretful memory. And the incredible ART DECO buildings, both which are gone and still present, and which I have a fascinating high regard from the 1920′s and 1930′s. Peerless architecture from a peerless city! You know, when I reflect on that horrendous day in September of 2001 when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed in a mass of death and destruction and my furious anger at it’s insane religious significance, and when time had passed to gather thoughts, I thought with unremitted horror that instead of the World Trade Center, it had been the great Art Deco masterpieces, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, and the inestimable loss of not only human life but the irreplacable loss of two great buildings that have defined Manhattan since the 1930′s. The potential loss of these Art Deco masterpieces still haunt me, especially if I dwell on it for any lenght of time. Boston has many merits to highly recommend it, but there never was nor will there ever be another Manhattan.

  142. #143 Nick Gotts
    June 26, 2008

    Of coarse Christianity is behind the rise in intelligence in the world. Actually it was from the Protestant reformation and since largely led by the Evangelical wing. Thats why the British people, English/Scottish, rose to top spot in all things where man compares himself.

    Nonsense! It’s because we’re descended from the lost tribes of Israel!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Israelism

  143. #144 Iain Walker
    June 26, 2008

    Correction to #138

    can’t avoid the collary [sic]

    Duh. corollary, of course. At least I still rate fewer sics than the illiterate Mr Byers.

  144. #145 raven
    June 26, 2008

    Byers the racist moron:

    Of coarse Christianity is behind the rise in intelligence in the world. Actually it was from the Protestant reformation and since largely led by the Evangelical wing. Thats why the British people, English/Scottish, rose to top spot in all things where man compares himself.

    Thanks for posting that. We now know that Byers is a typical small minded, stupid racist bigot from some trailer park somewhere, most likely in the south central USA.

    Best I can say, he is generally just a hit and run troll. His brain must be easily overtaxed from repeating his small collection of prejudices and fallacies for the nth time.

  145. #146 Dutch Delight
    June 26, 2008

    Ah yes, Protestants, those are the guys arguing among each other whether snakes can talk right?

  146. #147 raven
    June 26, 2008

    Egnor is just bughouse crazy. What progress we have made on cancer is due to hard work by many smart people spending huge quantities of money.

    Xianity and prayer were and are irrelevant.

    Like some older people and scientists, he has turned into an irrational crackpot with age. Same thing happened to Behe. Dembski was just born that way. Something is not right here. Organic brain disease most likely, early onset Alzheimers, vascular problems, Parkinsons, CJD, some sort of chemical imbalance problem.

    PS I maintained once that most creos who care enough to rant and rave on the internet are stupid, mentally ill or both. No one agreed or disagreed with that statement. Looking at people like Byers and Egnor makes this hypothesis look certainly true.

  147. #148 Lilly de Lure
    June 26, 2008

    Thats why the British people, English/Scottish, rose to top spot in all things where man compares himself.

    Why does everyone always forget about the Welsh?

  148. #149 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 26, 2008

    Why does everyone always forget about the Welsh?

    And the Irish. Sure we may forget about all of you after our daily imbibing, but that is no reason to forget about us up on the top rung.

    !!!Shameless Plug!!!

  149. #150 Lilly de Lure
    June 26, 2008

    Dianne said:

    And I’m sure my view of London is incredibly biased, given that all I’ve seen of it is Heathrow. It’s probably quite nice once you leave the airport.

    You have my sympathies and I know just how you feel as I’m much the same with regards to LA, which I’m sure is a lovely place once you leave the environs of LAX airport.

  150. #151 SC
    June 26, 2008

    Why does everyone always forget about the Welsh?

    You’re right. I’ll pray for their greater recognition. ;)

    And the Irish.

    Except, perhaps, this guy:

    http://www.amazon.com/Irish-Saved-Civilization-Hinges-History/dp/0385418493

  151. #152 Epikt
    June 26, 2008

    Moses:

    Think of all the positives of New York. Then get rid of the crappy traffic issues, the crappy attitude issues, reduce the urban-spread issues, improving the housing issues, adjust for the crappy weather issues and, voila, you have San Francisco.

    Plus, in San Francisco, there’s always a chance that an earthquake will bring a little excitement to an otherwise-drab day.

  152. #153 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 26, 2008

    Ouch, the reviews of that book are not, um, great.

    Thanks for posting that. We now know that Byers is a typical small minded, stupid racist bigot from some trailer park somewhere, most likely in the south central USA.

    Best I can say, he is generally just a hit and run troll. His brain must be easily overtaxed from repeating his small collection of prejudices and fallacies for the nth time.

    Yeah I don’t expect him to come back, but I hope he does.

  153. #154 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 26, 2008

    Plus, in San Francisco, there’s always a chance that an earthquake will bring a little excitement to an otherwise-drab day.

    And don’t forget the astronomical cost of living and housing!

  154. #155 Matt Penfold
    June 26, 2008

    “C’mon when is the last time anyone drank a good English wine or bought a British made computer?”

    I know you are only joking, but I feel I must point out that there are more British designed microprocessors in use around the world than those of Intel and AMD put together.

  155. #156 raiko
    June 26, 2008

    I don’t think we have anything but atheists working in our cell culture, yet they grow quite nicely. :P

  156. #157 Nick Gotts
    June 26, 2008

    I’m much the same with regards to LA, which I’m sure is a lovely place once you leave the environs of LAX airport. – Lilly de Lure

    Can’t say that was my impression in 1998. A city utterly dedicated to the automobile. Don’t breathe more than you can help, and don’t walk more than 100 yards or you risk being arrested as a suspicious character. San Francisco (1984), by contrast, was delightful, as was Santa Fe (also 1998) in a very different way. New York (1994) – about halfway between LA and SF (I mean in admirable qualities, not geographically) in my estimation.

  157. #158 negentropyeater
    June 26, 2008

    raven,

    We now know that Byers is a typical small minded, stupid racist bigot from some trailer park somewhere, most likely in the south central USA.

    Wherelse than…
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    http://watchmanswords.blogspot.com/

    and writes nice books too:
    A Vision of God $5.95
    Walking by the Way $4.95
    Living in an Imperfect World $14.95

    That third one is more expensive, but it promises more :

    God’s Word gives us examples to show how to deal with anger, depression, insecurity, injustice and other problems of the modern world. Learn how you can triumph over whatever adversity you face from the lives of Bible characters.

  158. #159 Nick Gotts
    June 26, 2008

    C’mon when is the last time anyone… bought a British made computer?

    1981 I think – I was working for the buyer (the Inland Revenue) at the time, as a COBOL programmer. It was an ICL 2900, which was bought to replace an ICL 1900. The joke at the time was that “1900″ referred to the year of manufacture, and “2900″ as the date the OS would work properly.

  159. #160 SC
    June 26, 2008

    Ouch, the reviews of that book are not, um, great.

    No, they aren’t. I haven’t read it, and probably won’t bother to. The bombastic title has drawn in readers, it seems, but the sloppy historiography does the book’s subject no favors.

  160. #161 negentropyeater
    June 26, 2008

    I must say aren’t you all eager to learn how you can triumph over whatever adversity you face from the lives of Bible characters ? And it’s just $ 14.95 !

    Holbach ?

    Anyone ?

  161. #162 SiMPel MYnd
    June 26, 2008

    So, what happens when a homosexual atheist gets cancer? Does god cure him/her, then hit smite him/her with a lightning bolt on the way out of the hospital?

    I’d credit them with being two-faced, but I don’t think that’s enough faces…

  162. #163 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 26, 2008
    most likely in the south central USA.

    Wherelse than…
    Tulsa, Oklahoma

    I have to register my contempt for the lumping in of everyone in geographical locals as being homogeneous in their stupidity (or their intelligence or their prejudices etc…). I’m from the south and well aware of the more stupid people in our area. However the stereotyping of whole large swaths of an area and its populace does not help ones argument. Being southern or northern or western is only describing your location and to some aspects your culture. But that culture is not one large flat set of morals, opinions or ideas.

    Having said that, I do know plenty of people like My. Byers here in the south. I just happen to know a lot that are not like him.

    /rant off

  163. #164 Holbach
    June 26, 2008

    negentropyeater @ 161 Only $14.95 for that thick-headed book? Wow, we’ll buy a billion and use them as sand bags to hold back the Mississippi flood waters inundating the Midwest. That should do the trick! Hey look, the spirits in the books appear to be containing the intelligent designed flood waters! Uh, wait, I don’t think it’s working. Crap, run!

  164. #165 Matlatzinca
    June 26, 2008

    OK, this thread of comments has certainly gone off topic (damn this busy life schedule that prevents reading posts as soon as they come up!). I would like to mention one point that most pharyngula readers should know:

    The graph that PZ showed (and which was then bounced around the blogosphere quite a bit, from badastronomy to dailykos) was the Kaplan-Meyer survival curves published by St. Jude’s. That particular children’s oncology group does not participate in national trials, but rather conducts its own (rather similar) treatment research protocols. Most of the other research in the US is done by what is now the Children’s Cancer Group, and formerly was composed of 2 organizations (Children’s Oncology Group or COG, and Pediatric Oncology Group or POG). The participating institutions are overwhelmingly secular academic institutions, and their KM curves look just as pretty.

    I’d like a t-shirt with those KM curves and this tagline:
    Science: it works, bitches!

  165. #166 frog
    June 26, 2008

    Science grew in a culture made fertile by Christian (and Jewish) faith and prayer.

    That insanity always makes me laugh. First, they claim they own science — then they realize it may sound racist, so they add the little (and Jewish), which is so paternalistic as to be mind-blowing. Jews as the “little brothers” of Christianity — not withstanding 1500 years of genocidal ambition by Christianity. And of course we eliminate the third arm of Western culture, Islam, which is as much to credit/blame in the evolution of Western (Roman-derived) society as the other three.

    I guess Budapest, Belgrade and Athens aren’t part of the West… I guess we can pretend that the Roman empire didn’t continue through the beginning of the 20th century.

  166. #167 Nick Gotts
    June 26, 2008

    I guess we can pretend that the Roman empire didn’t continue through the beginning of the 20th century.

    What are you thinking of here, frog? The Austro-Hungarian Empire? It was the successor of the “Holy Roman Empire” I guess (same dynasty), but the HRE was officially dissolved in 1806 (and was in any case, in Voltaire’s words, “neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire”). I’ve come to regard the Roman Catholic Church as in some sense the “ghost” of the Western Roman Empire – but since there aren’t really any ghosts, it has been obliged to retain a tiny little “physical body” – Vatican City ;-)

  167. #168 Blake Stacey
    June 26, 2008

    Jason Failes:

    The first glimmerings of the scientific method actually arose in the arabic world (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Haytham ).

    So do we credit science to the empirical impact of the Koran on culture? Of course not. For those who would say science started earlier, with the ancient Greeks, same question, but replace Koran with Greek polytheism. The Christian world is, in any case, a late comer to science.

    Indeed. The “pre-Socratic philosophers” were able to survey a mountain and direct the digging of a tunnel through it. You can have Plato’s dialogues; I’ll take the Tunnel of Samos, thanks.

    Consider also the many discoveries which Taoist scholars and their ilk made in China. Their innovation list is pretty darn impressive: paper and gunpowder, for starters. Why didn’t China do with their inventions what Europe did when those inventions reached the West? Part of the difference might be due to religion, but we have to consider the entirety of the two cultures: in its highest and most stable regimes, Chinese society was efficiently bureaucratized. Perhaps change failed to happen because citizens lacked opportunities for advancement via innovation. Or, think about all the discoveries which happened when Europe started setting up colonies. Nobody would have cared about magnetism until they all relied upon the compass needle for their profits. The Chinese certainly knew about magnetic materials, but they did not employ them in global conquest, so the systematic work was done by William Gilbert and not his Chinese counterpart.

    Then, too, consider the boon to science which printing provided! The Chinese invented that first, too, but thanks to their stupendously large character set, it was doomed to remain a niche novelty.

  168. #169 Azkyroth
    June 26, 2008

    Think of all the positives of New York. Then get rid of the crappy traffic issues, the crappy attitude issues, reduce the urban-spread issues, improving the housing issues, adjust for the crappy weather issues and, voila, you have San Francisco.

    Come to think of it, I don’t recall ever seeing someone act as though they were going to hold a door for me and then let it swing into my face in San Francisco. Happened at least a dozen times in New York.

    (Also, San Franciscans seem to understand the concept of “I’m not from around here” and its implications, while New York seems to have a massive collective Theory of Mind impairment.)

    In light of this, I wonder how church attendance rates in the two cities compare…

  169. #170 Blake Stacey
    June 26, 2008

    Jason Failes:

    2) Speaking of which, the Christian world was not a “culture made fertile” for science, but actively against many forms of science, such as anatomy and, as we all know, astronomy. This resistance to science has been one of the most consistent aspects of the Christian religion, painfully continuing even until the present day.

    Everybody knows how the Church reacted to Galileo’s astronomy. It is less widely appreciated that they also regarded the idea of the vacuum as heretical. Empty space would be a place where God wasn’t, you see. This caused a problem when Galileo’s assistant Torricelli was trying to figure out how suction pumps worked; the barometer, which Torricelli invented, rapidly became a research project in Protestant countries.

  170. #171 Randy
    June 26, 2008

    Dogma is not a Petri dish for questioning, let alone rational inquiry. Martin Luther recognized this and there are many quotes from him similar to this one: “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but–more frequently than not –struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.” Science arose in spite of, not because of, Christianity.

  171. #172 Dave Godfrey
    June 26, 2008

    C’mon when is the last time anyone drank a good English wine or bought a British made computer?

    You’d be surprised how much British (well usually English) wine there is. Plus, who says wine has to be made from grapes?

    Oh, and while they’re now a microchip company Acorn were one of the leading computer manufacturers during the eighties and early 90s, producing the BBC Micro and Master, and the Archimedes.

  172. #173 Azkyroth
    June 26, 2008

    You have my sympathies and I know just how you feel as I’m much the same with regards to LA, which I’m sure is a lovely place once you leave the environs of LAX airport.

    No. No, it isn’t. It’s polluted, it’s ridiculously overgrown, it’s full of horrifying drivers, the freeways and streets are confusingly insane, and much of the city has a subtle aura of desperation and poverty. It makes me think of the remnants of a forest fire, if you replace “forest fire” with “development.”

  173. #174 Epinephrine
    June 26, 2008
    Why does everyone always forget about the Welsh?

    And the Irish. Sure we may forget about all of you after our daily imbibing, but that is no reason to forget about us up on the top rung.

    And the Manx! Nobody mentions the Manx, and there are thousands of them!

  174. #175 Nick Gotts
    June 26, 2008

    Why didn’t China do with their inventions what Europe did when those inventions reached the West? Part of the difference might be due to religion, but we have to consider the entirety of the two cultures: in its highest and most stable regimes, Chinese society was efficiently bureaucratized. – Blake Stacey

    I’m no expert on Chinese history, but I’ve read that Sung China (960-1279) was in many ways a proto-capitalist society, with an influential merchant class and many technical and proto-scientific advances. It fell to outside forces – the Jurchen conquered the northern part in the early 12th century, and the rest fell to the Mongols in the 13th. Left to itself, it might well have preceded Europe into scientific and industrial revolutions. On the other hand, if Ogdei Khan hadn’t died in 1242, causing the Mongol hordes devastating Poland and Hungary to withdraw for the election of the new Khan, there was absolutely nothing to stop them devastating the centres of the budding European Renaissance in north Italy, France, Germany and the Low Countries, as they did the cities of China and the Islamic world. Wikipedia has a lot of good stuff on Song China.

    Another possible factor holding China back was porcelain. Perhaps because porcelain had such high prestige, glass technology never developed far; in particular, clear glass was unknown. Consider the importance of clear glass in the scientific advances made first in the Muslim world, then in Europe: observatory domes, glass retorts, tubes etc. for chemistry, spectacles, the telescope… There’s a good popular work on this, The Glass Bathyscaphe: How Glass Changed the World by Alan MacFarlane.

  175. #176 negentropyeater
    June 26, 2008

    You’d be surprised how much British (well usually English) wine there is.

    Any good ones ?

  176. #177 Nick Gotts
    June 26, 2008

    @176 – Ha, just you wait until global warming really gets going ;-)

  177. #178 Dave Godfrey
    June 26, 2008

    The other thing about China is that for much of its history it was a single political entity, so if a Chinese Columbus, Kepler or Da Vinci was rejected they had nowhere else to go, whereas because Europe was a varied political entities (Germany and Italy didn’t exist as countries until the 19th Century) there were plenty of potential sponsors for scientists, inventors and explorers.

    Nicolaus Steno for instance never lived for more than 3 years in a single city during his career as an anatomist and geologist.

  178. #179 Acronym Jim
    June 26, 2008

    I believe the unintentionally ironic raison d’etre statement at the bottom of Mr. Egnor’s site explains much.
    “The misreporting of the evolution issue is one key reason for this site.”

  179. #180 Matt Penfold
    June 26, 2008

    “Oh, and while they’re now a microchip company Acorn were one of the leading computer manufacturers during the eighties and early 90s, producing the BBC Micro and Master, and the Archimedes.”

    Acorn went onto setup ARM, with a number of other companies including Apple. ARM designs processors, and the processors it designs are found in more devices than the total output of both Intel and AMD. The number of devices with an ARM processor exceeds the number of PCs in the world. Chances are your mobile phone has an ARM designed processor in it. ARM also produces software tools for writing code for such devices.

    I think one of the reasons that this is not more widely known is that ARM does not actually make any chips. It designs them, then licenses those designs to manufacturers.

  180. #181 mark
    June 26, 2008

    Speaking of neurosurgeons, I heard on NPR Dr. Ben Carson, recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Honor, claim that he is a Creationist–tornado in a junkyard, yada yada.

  181. #182 Emmet Caulfield
    June 26, 2008

    Matt Penfold @#180,

    People have always grossly misjudged the distribution of microprocessors by overlooking embedded systems. Back in the mid-90′s, when I was programming PIC microcontrollers in the security industry, the Motorola 680x celebrated shipping their billionth core (counting all derived uPs and uCs) and it was then by far the most common core in the world, found in pretty much all brown/white goods and cars. A billion was a lot then, but now ARM licensees ship that number in 4 months.

  182. #183 Dave Godfrey
    June 26, 2008

    I hadn’t realised ARM processors were that widely distributed, but it doesn’t surprise me.

    IIRC, the company Acorn became are also involved in the PC market, developing RISC processors too.

  183. #184 pough
    June 26, 2008

    Thats why the British people, English/Scottish, rose to top spot in all things where man compares himself.

    All things? I can think of one comparison area that didn’t rise to top spot. Forget enlargement pills, try enlargement prayer! Dear baby Jesus, please make my flesh like the flesh of donkeys and issue like the issue of horses. (Ezekiel 23:30)

  184. #185 Emmet Caulfield
    June 26, 2008

    Dave Godfrey @#183,

    AFAICT, ARM is ubiquitous in cellphones, which make a massive contribution to the 250,000,000 or so ARM cores shipped every month. It’s used in other products too, of course, but it seems to dominate “personal embedded computing” like cellphones, PDAs, personal/pocket gaming platforms and media players. I’d guess that the average person in the developed world is using two ARM processors and has probably got a few sitting unused in old phones, media players, and suchlike.

  185. #186 Rick R
    June 26, 2008

    Regarding L.A., azkyroth wrote-

    “No. No, it isn’t. It’s polluted, it’s ridiculously overgrown, it’s full of horrifying drivers, the freeways and streets are confusingly insane, and much of the city has a subtle aura of desperation and poverty. It makes me think of the remnants of a forest fire, if you replace “forest fire” with “development.”

    I second this, and I’m a native. Add in grey/white skies on a clear day, and the charming grey/brown colors of the foliage. And the overall filth.

    But it does have the best movie theaters in the world.

  186. #187 Blake Stacey
    June 26, 2008

    The other thing about China is that for much of its history it was a single political entity, so if a Chinese Columbus, Kepler or Da Vinci was rejected they had nowhere else to go, whereas because Europe was a varied political entities (Germany and Italy didn’t exist as countries until the 19th Century) there were plenty of potential sponsors for scientists, inventors and explorers.

    Good point. Just think if Zheng He had managed to find another sponsor and keep his little sailing effort going. . . .

  187. #188 otching
    June 26, 2008

    RE: Evo Psych

    Who funds research of the unscrupulous mating habits of humans and why? It seems to draw opposition to the field and makes me wonder where the value is in it.

    The tendency of people to dichotomize each other is way more interesting and worthy, imo.

  188. #189 Mar
    June 26, 2008

    Patricia writes:
    Chickens have no idea of heaven.

    Neither do you. There’s no such place.

  189. #190 gaypaganunitarianagnostic
    June 26, 2008

    The joke ending ‘See how well it works’ is supposed to be the oldest joke in the world. Said to have originated in the Sufi tradition.

  190. #191 Wowbagger
    June 26, 2008

    I’m not a biblical scholar, so feel free to correct me if i’m wrong, but isn’t Genesis a good guide to what god thinks of science? The whole don’t eat the fruit from the tree thing. Wasn’t the fruit meant to contain Knowledge of good and evil?

    Sounds pretty much like science to me. God made it clear – don’t learn to think for yourselves, do as I tell you. A free ride for authoritarian control through the ages.

  191. #192 Holbach
    June 26, 2008

    Wowbagger @ 191 Isn’t your comment a little(?) off track, as you are using biblical nonsense to explain additional nonsense? That moniker, sneer, “biblical scholar” has always rankled me as having scholarship(?) in a totally ridiculous superstitious venue! “Great religion” is another one of those devious insanities to lend credence to a moronic mass who has more numbers than another of the “Lesser religions”. “Deeply religious” and “devout” are more catchwords to signify mental unsoundness, as is “Doctor of theology”. When we insist on giving credence and attention to these states of dementia, we are only aiding those for whom it signifies a stand apart from the less demented. Of course, this is only my unbridled opinion, and in no way should be construed as smirking.

  192. #193 Candy
    June 26, 2008

    Doctor of theology

    Whenever I see this title, I always think of the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz and his “Doctor of Thinkology” certificate. It makes me smile.

  193. #194 Monado
    June 26, 2008

    Don’t you feel a little sorry for Michael Egnor? He’s behind on his reading: Sir Francis Galton debunked the power of prayer in 1872, a mere 135 years ago.

  194. #195 DLC
    June 26, 2008

    Gee, Egnor thinks we should praise his religion for allowing the development of the scientific method and evidence-based medicine ? Could someone send Egnor the link to Carl Sagan’s talk on the destruction of the Library of Alexandria ?
    You know… the one where the local witch-doctor-in-chief ordered the place destroyed because it contained Non-Christian texts ? Texts on such silly things as science and engineering.
    Now, which religion did the witch-doctor-in-chief subscribe to? Oh yeah… the one that claimed to follow the teachings of an ex-carpenter turned rabbi who was executed by the roman empire.

  195. #196 Robert Byers
    June 26, 2008

    Everybody
    My comments caused a stir about who won in the race for human achievment reward.
    I said intelligence comes from Gods blessing and the motivation of those of the true faith to intervene in the world morally and intellectually including in their own lives.
    The true faith is Evangelical Christianity.
    so where it was most prominent there you found the greastest civilization.
    It took off aggresively after the protestant reformation but especialy in the Evangelical or then called Puritan circles in England and Scotland. This minority raised the moral and intellectual standards above the rest of Protestant europe. It stirred in Germany, Holland, etc but greatly and continuously in Britain.
    It was revealed strongly in America by the difference in moral/intellectual results relative to north/south.
    The rest of Britain, Anglicans, Catholic Scots, Welsh, etc were just on the ride. Likewise in America before the present rise of the south. foreigners likewise just assimulated up to the superior level of English Puritans or Yankees. Foreigners to America outside of britain never contributed anything but simply were babies born to the manor. Everything was already higher then anyone else could add too as a people. All achievement today in americ is Evangelical English. This is carefully noted by referring to American morality as puritan however everything is puritan.
    The same energy and self confidence of Evangelicals today on all fronts is the origin of exceptionalism of Anglo-American civilization.
    Perhaps the rising Asia will past america but until then there is no one even close.
    Just tribal pride expressing itself in English. If its not in English it doesn’t matter almost.
    Just to clarify I mean as origins and not the modern country of Britain. Its over for them because they reject Christ.
    i don’t see how my interpretation is not what many people think openly or quietly.
    No one wants to hurt peoples feelings. Except on this forum of coarse.

  196. #197 tresmal
    June 26, 2008

    Christianity gave rise to science the same way smallpox gave rise to vaccines.

  197. #198 Ichthyic
    June 26, 2008

    I said intelligence comes from Gods blessing

    so the stupid are cursed.

    makes perfect sense.

    *rolleyes*

    The true faith is Evangelical Christianity.

    prove it, Scotsman.

    This minority raised the moral and intellectual standards above the rest of Protestant europe.

    laughably false.

    It stirred in Germany, Holland, etc but greatly and continuously in Britain.

    …which ended up Anglican.

    The rest of Britain, Anglicans, Catholic Scots, Welsh, etc were just on the ride.

    highly suggest you try that argument in a bar in Ireland.

    Foreigners to America outside of britain never contributed anything but simply were babies born to the manor.

    ah, you’re an ignorant, racist, pathetic waste of human life.

    got it.

    just considering ONE country alone outside of britain which contributed to the development of technology and innovation in the US:

    Africa

    http://inventors.about.com/od/blackinventors/Famous_Black_Inventors.htm

    I’m sure Italy, India, Spain, Japan, China, etc., etc., would also rather strongly disagree as to whether they had something to contribute as immigrants as well.

    No one wants to hurt peoples feelings. Except on this forum of coarse[sic].

    because ignorant racists like yourself certainly don’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings, right?

    you sir are an utter, complete, and contemptible moron.
    That ANYBODY would deign to take you seriously is cause for concern.

  198. #199 BellaB
    June 26, 2008

    Icthyic, I think you mean ‘one continent,’ as there are quite a few countries contained in Africa. I agree with your general sentiment, though.

  199. #200 Ichthyic
    June 27, 2008

    Yeah I don’t expect him to come back, but I hope he does.

    *tag*

  200. #201 negentropyeater
    June 27, 2008

    People like Byers do exist !

    Basically all of it is:

    1. The true faith is Evangelical Christianity.
    2. conclusion : The energy and self confidence of Evangelicals today on all fronts is the origin of exceptionalism of Anglo-American civilization.

    Make no mistake, Byers is a facist.

  201. #202 Ichthyic
    June 27, 2008

    Icthyic, I think you mean ‘one continent,’ as there are quite a few countries contained in Africa. I agree with your general sentiment, though.

    of course. the steam coming out of my ears interfered with my ability to parse that correctly.

    seriously, if I was at a casual party, and this idiot spouted what he just did, I’d risk arrest for assault and battery so I could find out if I could knock his teeth out by kicking him in the ass hard enough.

  202. #203 Nick Gotts
    June 27, 2008

    The other thing about China is that for much of its history it was a single political entity, so if a Chinese Columbus, Kepler or Da Vinci was rejected they had nowhere else to go – Dave Godfrey@178

    I agree with Blake@187 that this is a good point, particularly in regard to Zheng He/Cheng Ho. We might trace this advantage back in turn to physical geography – Europe is a peninsula made of smaller peninsulas, which encourages both political plurality, and denser webs of interconnection (by sea) for trade and cultural exchange between distant areas. Colin McEvedy explores this theme on the smaller scale of classical Greece in The New Penguin Atlas of Ancient History. Europe as a whole was a late starter in technological development compared to the Middle East, China and India, possibly because agriculture remained relatively unproductive there until iron tools were available (for plows to turn the heavy soils, axes to clear forest), but once it got going, had that long-term advantage.

  203. #204 Nick Gotts
    June 27, 2008

    Completely OT, except that it concerns the seriously deluded, but perhaps amusing. David Icke will be among 26 candidates in a by-election triggered by the resignation of maverick UK Tory MP David Davis in protest at the planned extension of imprisonment without charge to 42 days (Davis is standing again, he wants to get a debate going on the issue). We already have an Official Monster Raving Loony Party, who are also putting up a candidate, so I guess Icke will have to stand for the Provisional Monster Raving Loony Party.

  204. #205 Ichthyic
    June 27, 2008

    the Provisional Monster Raving Loony Party.

    very, very silly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31FFTx6AKmU

  205. #206 Nick Gotts
    June 27, 2008

    Ichthyic@205 – Ah, yes, I remember that Python sketch well – but I’d forgotten the intrusion of the Spanish Inquisition right at the end!

  206. #207 BellaB
    June 27, 2008

    Ichthyic – my apologies: I just noticed that I had misspelled your name (and while I was correcting a mistake of yours, too).

    This Byers character’s post looks like nothing more to me than a garbled mess of dogmatic statements loosely thrown together. I am always amazed at the amount of ego involved with these sorts of statements, statements that say “*my* faith is the one true faith” … I wonder if he ever stopped to think beyond his own little sphere. Perhaps from his point of view his little community is the center of the universe, but did he ever stop to think that other people raised with other faiths that involve different authority figures have entirely different convictions about what is the truth? And yet they are no less convinced than he is that their version/interpretation/deity (deities) is/are the right one(s). There are so many such groups all claiming the same thing, “*my* faith is the one true faith” but with little more to go on than “my authority figures said so, and I’m going to interpret this mess of a book just the way they did.”

    Like I said, it’s nothing but ego.

  207. #208 BellaB
    June 27, 2008

    er, I meant to add: ‘truth’ as decided by what a particular community believes is relative. That some people raised in a community claiming their religious ideas are the infallible truth are incapable of realizing (or unwilling to realize) that it is all relative just might be an indication that those people have inflated egos. This Byers person sounds like he is such a person.

  208. #209 Ichthyic
    June 28, 2008

    but did he ever stop to think that other people raised with other faiths that involve different authority figures have entirely different convictions about what is the truth?

    people projecting that level of delusion simply cannot allow themselves to stop and think, period.

    they run as fast as they can, wherever they go, with their eyes closed tightly shut, their fingers in their ears, and screaming “LALALALALALAA” continuously.

    otherwise, their little house of cards they have built for themselves (assuredly with much forced assistance from parents and peers) would completely collapse.

    The man needs deprogramming, and I mean that exactly as in the context of removal from cult indoctrination.

  209. #210 BellaB
    June 28, 2008

    The man needs deprogramming, and I mean that exactly as in the context of removal from cult indoctrination.

    It’s interesting that you use the word cult. At first, I would have thought that ‘cult’ is rather a strong word, but if one is blindly spewing that much mindless dogma, then perhaps ‘cult’ is exactly the word I would use.

  210. #211 Ichthyic
    June 28, 2008

    but if one is blindly spewing that much mindless dogma, then perhaps ‘cult’ is exactly the word I would use.

    I’ve spent years looking at the issues involved, and the standard psychological issues surrounding what would regularly be defined as cults is paralleled quite well in many xian evangelical sects.

    same psychological defense mechanisms, similar sets of peer pressures, similar inability to acknowledge error…

    There is a growing body of literature in the psych journals documenting it, too.

    for example, on the effects of early indoctrination and peer pressure, there was a paper published in Science last year that gets some regular mention around here:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/316/5827/996

    There are dozens of articles, though. IMO, if not religion, some other organized form of social behavior would be used to coerce and manipulate (even racism – think neo-Nazism for example).

    some people are just bound and determined to defend their ignorance through group identification.

  211. #212 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 28, 2008

    i don’t see how my interpretation is not what many people think openly or quietly.

    Eat shit — billions of flies cannot err!

  212. #213 Kristopher
    July 2, 2008

    This “Judeo-Christian” progress meme just sets me off.

    Progress in European culture was a result of our Greco-Roman roots, in my opinion. Christianity was just another descent into mysticism, and retarded progress by at least 1000 years.

    If it weren’t for side trips into mysticism by the pythagoreans, and later by the christians, we would have been at our present level of progress at somewhere around 750 to 1000 AD, in my opinion.

    Christianity was one big fucking mistake.

  213. #214 Garrett
    July 2, 2008

    “Seriously, though, Christians have done more to oppose scientific advances through blocking funding for AIDS and other STDs than I think I can ever forgive them for and,”

    Just a note:
    Those kinds of statements don’t help. I know plenty of Christians that understand evolution, find the blocking of birth control appalling, and are disgusted by the behavior of evangelicals Christians, or fundamentalist Christians.

    I am an atheist, former Christian, and lumping them all together in these kinds of issues just hurts the conversation. It’s tough to be a Christian and try to have a real discussion about the theory of evolution. Not whether it is real, but on the actual theory without being called names, or being lump in with the kinds of people that let their children die because it’s ‘Gods will’.

    And finally, the first observatory used for astronomy was built by the Catholic church.

  214. #215 wnelson
    July 3, 2008

    Between Jungian understandings of the Psyche, and Kantian or Spinozan takes on metaphysics, the best any intelligent person can say on the power of prayer, is that God is not a vending machine — and certainly not available for laboratory study. It is a contradiction in terms that things “might be different if…” and not a “scientific” discussion in any case.

    A cheap rant, and nothing more — Myers needs to give this a rest.

    Perhaps he could turn his attention to the growing consensus in Psychology that can appreciate the spiritual aspects of man, or at least can do the math on organizations like AA — with all the God baggage it has — and respect its success.

    This is thread is noise — thinking people can look around and accept change without choosing to get paid to froth at the mouth in increasingly self-contradictory terms.

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