Friday, March 31, 2006

Facts? We ain't need no stinking facts!

Michael over there at Christian Conservative rejects (hey, here's a shock) the study showing prayer has no effect on the outcome of heart bypass surgery -- humans failed, though, he asserts, not God.

Fair enough, from our Christian Conservative's POV. In his worldview, obviously God can't fail. And if God can't fail, that only leaves us to fail. Right-o.

Here's the issue, then. Stop trying to shoe-horn religion into science. Admit it isn't rational. Admit it's not something that can be studied, or proven, or supported rationally -- which, Michael might notice, he has just done, in this post. He has said, right there in that post, that there is no way to test God.

(I agree with Michael, BTW. God, if he exists, being a supernatural critter, is outside the spectrum of scientific testing: that is, God, if he exists, obviously is not something that would obey natural law. He's not like the law of physics, for instance. We can't form theories about his behavior and then test them, because God doesn't have to follow rules. Again, if God exists. No way to prove that, is there? By Michael's own admission.)

Given that we have no way to prove God's existence, we must -- if we are inclined that way -- take it on faith.

Fine. Do that if you like. Teach that to your young if you like. Live your life that way if you like. This is America, and that's one of our rules. Everyone gets to have their own religious beliefs. Or, you know, not.

What we don't get to do, as American citizens, is attempt to impose those belief systems on others -- or on the children of others -- under the guise of pretending it is "science." I'm talking Intelligent design and Creationism and that sort of insidious attempt to insert religion into the public school system.

None of that can be proven. None of it can be tested. None of it is science. You can't form theories about it and test those theories, because all of those depend on there being a supernatural critter of some sort -- call him God, call him Factor X, call her Mama Creator, I do not care, but she is outside the laws of science, which are what we in the enlightenment universe use to do science with: empirical evidence. Not revealed evidence. Not "because the Bible tells me so," or "Jesus says it," or "Paul said it," or "I prayed about it and," or even "Buddha teaches us." None of that.

Because we say, "I think if I do this/look at this/try this/find this and compare them, I will find that X is so."

Then I go and do/look/try/find, and determine if X is, in fact, so. (I simplify radically. I leave out observer error. I leave out control groups and peer review and seventy other things. But that's the gist of it.)

That's science.

Saying, "Of course this is how the world works. God says it's how the world works. Go look at this spot in the Bible. It says that's how the world works." That's revealed knowledge. (Also it's your interpretation of a translation of a translation of that revealed knowledge, which, I might add, many believe was not revealed at all, but constructed for political reasons by some canny guys who were a bit desperate when their political situation was getting dicy, but we'll let that pass for now.)

Keep one in your church and home and keep it your own business.

Keep the other in the public sphere.

That's how this country was meant to be constructed. Anything else? You're flirting with disaster. And not, son, just for us atheists and Jews and Wiccans and other wicked folk, either.

Look up the concept of Fortune's Wheel sometime, why don't you? Just for giggles.

1 comment:

zelda1 said...

Yeah! and, and, keep your opions about sin to yourself. And the next time you say you don't go in for all that science stuff, well, best get rid of all that science stuff, like glasses, soap, cars, antibiotics. Hey, just pray and let god, if he is so inclined to, heal you of that awful yeast infection. Keep on a itching and waiting and itching and waiting and when your labia gets as big as your thighs, then you might haved proff that urrr science has it's moments.