If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
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17-02-2015, 10:04 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(17-02-2015 08:47 PM)TheAlphaGriot Wrote:  Nope. The premise is flawed and the knowledge of science is pedestrian. I really don’t know where to begin.

You and me both.

(17-02-2015 08:47 PM)‘TheAlphaGriot Wrote:  First, prayer and science are not mutually exclusive.

There is science based on empirical data and then there is woo based on wishful-thinking. The two could not be more mutually exclusive.

(17-02-2015 08:47 PM)‘TheAlphaGriot’ Wrote:  They can exist together in reasonable fashion and mostly do. When prayer "succeeds", science is not useless. The reverse is also true: when science succeeds, prayer is not useless. Those kinds of positions are conceits and contrivances that have really no basis in reality that can be observed empirically.

The irony is delicious. “No basis in reality” is the name of your song.

(17-02-2015 08:47 PM)‘TheAlphaGriot’ Wrote:  For the made up story, there is no reason that most doctors and scientist would be puzzled by the “miracle”.

I’m on the fucking floor laughing. I can’t wait to go tell this one to all of my brothers who are in the medical field, especially the gynocologic oncologist surgeon. If your wife walked into his office how would you feel if he’d just tell her to go pray her cancer away? What a fucking ignorant thing to believe!

(17-02-2015 08:47 PM)‘TheAlphaGriot’ pid=‘737886 Wrote:Outliers are included in the models and predictors of medical outcomes. People who defy the "odds" don't create concern or worry among most scientists. An outlier can "change the statistics" but not greatly. Frequently, we as scientists will run the stats with the outlier in it...and then again with the outlier removed. And then try to make sense of the science.

Further, the notion that 'NO scientific study, if prayer works, could begin to compile a valid statistical foundation for evaluating outcomes because the wild cards of answered prayer would make garbage of any mathematical model." is just ignorant, rubbish. If prayer were working, we would just include it as a variable in our models. It would be incorporated. We include wild card all of the time and they enhance mathematical and statistical models. It is kind of embarrassing when people who don't know science and are not trained in it, try to represent it and determine what can or cannot be.

There are all kinds of ways that Prayer could work and may be working. It would not be problematic or scary at all.

Just like it shouldn't be problematic or scary if science works without prayer.

You are a “scientist”? I hope people’s lives aren’t dependant on your “work”.
Your post rates right up there with some of the most ignorant rubbish ever said on this forum. Congratulations.

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18-02-2015, 07:58 AM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(17-02-2015 08:47 PM)TheAlphaGriot Wrote:  For the made up story, there is no reason that most doctors and scientist would be puzzled by the "miracle". Outliers are included in the models and predictors of medical outcomes. People who defy the "odds" don't create concern or worry among most scientists. An outlier can "change the statistics" but not greatly. Frequently, we as scientists will run the stats with the outlier in it...and then again with the outlier removed. And then try to make sense of the science.

Further, the notion that 'NO scientific study, if prayer works, could begin to compile a valid statistical foundation for evaluating outcomes because the wild cards of answered prayer would make garbage of any mathematical model." is just ignorant, rubbish. If prayer were working, we would just include it as a variable in our models. It would be incorporated. We include wild card all of the time and they enhance mathematical and statistical models. It is kind of embarrassing when people who don't know science and are not trained in it, try to represent it and determine what can or cannot be.

While I can agree that you find hyperbole in the OP and that you feel it is too absolutely stated, there is also no reason to consider that any outliers were caused by prayer. Prayers only "work" when science can't explain the results. So, it's dubbed "a miracle" by believers when all we can actually prove is it's a gap in our knowledge.


(17-02-2015 08:47 PM)TheAlphaGriot Wrote:  There are all kinds of ways that Prayer could work and may be working. It would not be problematic or scary at all.

This is true, but it's ultimately useless. If we cannot pin down whether or not prayer is useful, there seems to be little value in relying on it.

This also doesn't even address the fact that praying for God to take an action is ultimately pointless. If God was going to do something or not do something anyway, then prayer is redundant. If God wasn't going to do it unless you prayed for him to intervene, then by very definition God caused or allowed something to happen for the sole purpose of wanting you to ask him to fix it. So, given that the notion is nonsensical on first principles followed by that there is no reliable evidence it works, I see no reason to give it any consideration when making decisions. Otherwise, your stated position would have to be "I want to try this thing that I don't even know if it works and doesn't make any sense".
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18-02-2015, 08:14 AM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(18-02-2015 07:58 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  If we cannot pin down whether or not prayer is useful, there seems to be little value in relying on it.

This also doesn't even address the fact that praying for God to take an action is ultimately pointless. If God was going to do something or not do something anyway, then prayer is redundant. If God wasn't going to do it unless you prayed for him to intervene, then by very definition God caused or allowed something to happen for the sole purpose of wanting you to ask him to fix it. So, given that the notion is nonsensical on first principles followed by that there is no reliable evidence it works, I see no reason to give it any consideration when making decisions. Otherwise, your stated position would have to be "I want to try this thing that I don't even know if it works and doesn't make any sense".
^^^ This. In spades. Bingo.

There are two types of prayer -- imprecatory (god please do or prevent X) and meditative (thy will be done). The latter has some tangential value as it's really a form of meditation. Practiced with the right attitude it can be a calming mechanism. The former, though, has an unambiguous, clear scriptural endorsement, yet there is no evidence that outcomes vary from random happenstance (and 3rd person anecdotal accounts <> evidence). As a fig leaf over that, most theists structure their thinking such that god gets 100% of the credit for desired outcomes and humanity ultimately gets 100% of the blame for non-desired outcomes. Found my car keys? Praise God. Spouse died of painful, lingering illness? God moves in mysterious ways -- or more likely, you or your spouse fell prey to natural consequences -- some combination of original sin, evil allowed by free will, secret sin, insufficient piousness or devotion, etc.
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19-02-2015, 02:07 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(17-02-2015 12:16 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  If I have to pick between a doctor misdiagnosing a disease, and you having a buddy who created the entire universe, "curing someone".-- I'll take "Doctors Make Mistakes" for $1000 Alex.......

A cute quote, particularly in the light of the recent SNL Celebrity Jeopardy reunion - Hammond's Sean Connery impression is everyone's fave--but Christians have the man upstairs AND the men and women with the bedside manners.

A friend put it this way recently before surgery when the doctor said "I'll do my best". He responded, "If I go, I go. God punched my ticket twice for birth and death and He is ultimately in charge."

PS. What makes you think the doctors misdiagnosed the disease? Google "spontaneous remission". It's a phenomenon.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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19-02-2015, 02:16 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(17-02-2015 07:10 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  
(17-02-2015 11:38 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  ... you have to prove something to be a natural occurrence.

No. You're upside down. Supernatural cause is what has to be proved, not nature. The presumption is nature. It's what's explained 100% of everything yet explained. If nature has explained 100% of everything explained to date, there is no reason whatsoever to presume non-natural cause for anything not yet explained.

Quote: ...I'm talking about events that doctors find purely anomalous.

It sounds here like you're treating mere anomaly as indicative of supernatural cause. As if you're inscribing a line on the graph paper: occurrences beyond this percentile are supernatural because nothing beyond this percentile can happen naturally. So, what percentile is that? The 99th? The 99.99999? How would you come by that figure?

The anomalies that "gobsmack" doctors get plotted, and make the bell curves closer representations of nature. The events that fall on the rims of the bell curve might get way out there to the 99.99999999999999999999th percentile, but they're still on a bell curve. They're still nature.

Here's the issues I find with your line of thinking. But I don't want to put words in your mouth, so if I misrepresent you here, please let me know:

You are basically saying that everything in nature is natural, which is a self-equivalency like saying "Reality is reality." I agree! We have variant explanations for how reality works, but I agree. Then you say there is no supernatural because you believe there is no supernatural being (your opinion which you are entitled to hold).

The real problem ensues when you go on to make the case that something of extremely low probability is still something we can see in reality and that is must de facto be natural or real. Again, yes, but I can paraphrase that as "Wow. That shouldn't have happened. But it couldn't have been God." Again, your opinion. However, you need to stand in recognition of the fact that every doctor I've ever known -- and likely all those you've known -- have encountered spontaneous remissions. My mother's aunt had terminal leukemia, as in real doctors, as in real diagnosis, as in the best NYC hospitals, and given a few weeks to live, she got ticked off and started focusing on New Age self-healing. She lived 25 more years and well at that, and became a New Age chaplain, too. While she went from atheism or agnosticism to a different spirituality than evangelical Christianity, she was "touched" as are thousands of ill people every day.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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19-02-2015, 02:19 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(17-02-2015 09:27 PM)TheInquisition Wrote:  
(17-02-2015 08:47 PM)TheAlphaGriot Wrote:  Nope. The premise is flawed and the knowledge of science is pedestrian. I really don't know where to begin.

First, prayer and science are not mutually exclusive. They can exist together in reasonable fashion and mostly do. When prayer "succeeds", science is not useless. The reverse is also true: when science succeeds, prayer is not useless. Those kinds of positions are conceits and contrivances that have really no basis in reality that can be observed empirically.

For the made up story, there is no reason that most doctors and scientist would be puzzled by the "miracle". Outliers are included in the models and predictors of medical outcomes. People who defy the "odds" don't create concern or worry among most scientists. An outlier can "change the statistics" but not greatly. Frequently, we as scientists will run the stats with the outlier in it...and then again with the outlier removed. And then try to make sense of the science.

Further, the notion that 'NO scientific study, if prayer works, could begin to compile a valid statistical foundation for evaluating outcomes because the wild cards of answered prayer would make garbage of any mathematical model." is just ignorant, rubbish. If prayer were working, we would just include it as a variable in our models. It would be incorporated. We include wild card all of the time and they enhance mathematical and statistical models. It is kind of embarrassing when people who don't know science and are not trained in it, try to represent it and determine what can or cannot be.

There are all kinds of ways that Prayer could work and may be working. It would not be problematic or scary at all.

Just like it shouldn't be problematic or scary if science works without prayer.

I suppose you have documented evidence of where prayer has succeeded? You need to provide the medical diagnosis before the alleged faith healing and a medical diagnosis after it is attempted, along with contact information of the doctor , faith healer and the person who was allegedly healed. In fact, you can win a million dollars if you can provide that.

The Million Dollar Challenge

I'm aware both of The Amazingly Atheist Randi's Amazing Million-Dollar Challenge and further that his own contract clauses 2.1, 2.4 and 2.5 exclude faith healing before it begins...

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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19-02-2015, 02:32 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
Rolleyes

My favorite..argument from personal experience.

Great Aunt Helga is on her death bed, she has been battling disease X for a couple years and the doctors give her a few weeks at best to live. The family come together, link hands and say a fervent prayer on behalf of great Aunt Helga. The next morning she suddenly and inexplicitly takes a turn for the better...proof of god? No. But you will never convince Aunt Helga's family they were not witness to the guhlory of gawd right there in the hospital, they will probably thank him profusely and bear witness to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen....don't thank the doctors by the way, thank god. Rolleyes

Remarkable turnarounds happen, it is called chance. I have yet to see prayers heal an amputee. The millions of jews that were marched to their death in the ovens most assuredly uttered some fervent desperate prayers...yet "god" looked the other way as "his people", men, women, children and babies were gassed to death, perhaps it was "god's plan". Billions of prayers get uttered daily by the faithful...the handful that seem to get answered is pure chance. The question we must ask, oh faithful, is why the billions of prayers Don't get answered daily...let me guess because when I was a Xtian, this was my answer..

"god answered...no is an answer"....

NO, sorry mother of that newborn baby, god's plan is he is to die, no sorry little 10 yo girl, praying won't help, it is god's plan that 45 yo man rape you this evening.....wake the fuck up, you are to smart to believe this nonsense.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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19-02-2015, 08:50 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(19-02-2015 02:16 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  ... The real problem ensues when you go on to make the case that something of extremely low probability is still something we can see in reality and that is must de facto be natural or real.

The problem is that you see that as a problem. Mere low probability of occurrence is no reason to look outside nature; it only means occurrences are rare.

Is that all it takes for you to think a god got involved - low likelihood? Or are other corollary factors necessary (although I can't even begin to guess what they might be, if there are other factors besides low likelihood).

Even if low likelihood COULD be taken as an indicator of supernatural influence, the perception of likelihood is what you're going on, not actual likelihood. Your perception could be way off; some event you think uncommon could be very common, under different circumstances or somewhere else.

Finally, and I've already asked this, but I'll ask again - what is the threshold of unlikeliness that to you signifies supernatural influence? The 99.999th percentile? HOW do you draw that line? Did YOU draw that line, or is it specified in the bible? Did someone else draw that line (and if so, how did THEY do it)?
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19-02-2015, 09:11 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(19-02-2015 08:50 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  
(19-02-2015 02:16 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  ... The real problem ensues when you go on to make the case that something of extremely low probability is still something we can see in reality and that is must de facto be natural or real.

The problem is that you see that as a problem. Mere low probability of occurrence is no reason to look outside nature; it only means occurrences are rare.

Is that all it takes for you to think a god got involved - low likelihood? Or are other corollary factors necessary (although I can't even begin to guess what they might be, if there are other factors besides low likelihood).

Even if low likelihood COULD be taken as an indicator of supernatural influence, the perception of likelihood is what you're going on, not actual likelihood. Your perception could be way off; some event you think uncommon could be very common, under different circumstances or somewhere else.

Finally, and I've already asked this, but I'll ask again - what is the threshold of unlikeliness that to you signifies supernatural influence? The 99.999th percentile? HOW do you draw that line? Did YOU draw that line, or is it specified in the bible? Did someone else draw that line (and if so, how did THEY do it)?

Meteor strike is low probability, so goddidit.
Having triplets is low probability, so goddidit.
Lightning strike hitting a person is low probability, so goddidit.
Catching Ebola is low probability, so goddidit. Uhh, wait.....Big Grin

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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19-02-2015, 09:30 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(19-02-2015 02:19 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(17-02-2015 09:27 PM)TheInquisition Wrote:  I suppose you have documented evidence of where prayer has succeeded? You need to provide the medical diagnosis before the alleged faith healing and a medical diagnosis after it is attempted, along with contact information of the doctor , faith healer and the person who was allegedly healed. In fact, you can win a million dollars if you can provide that.

The Million Dollar Challenge

I'm aware both of The Amazingly Atheist Randi's Amazing Million-Dollar Challenge and further that his own contract clauses 2.1, 2.4 and 2.5 exclude faith healing before it begins...

It's creates a falsifiable standard for miracle claims, but I wouldn't expect you to agree to that, because your world of woo would evaporate under that standard.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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