Monday, July 30, 2012

The Horrors of Communism

There are some in the atheist community that believe while communism did have some faults, it wasn't as bad as people claim and atheism certainly had nothing to do with it.
Here's what I want everyone to do: I want you to keep in mind that Karl Marx, father of communism, called religion "the opiate of the masses", look at this video and tell me with a straight face atheism had nothing to do with communism:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Refuting "God is Imaginary": Point #2

Sorry I haven't had time to post on here for some time, but I have been putting together an escape plan from the coming destruction of America thanks to Obama Care. This post is resuming my refutation of God is Imaginary. Since I don't have time for a full essay, instead I'll put together some refutations along with the original article. My comments are in brackets and italicized.
"The fact is, God never answers any prayers. The entire idea that "God answers prayers" is an illusion created by human imagination

[What type of prayers is he talking about? Prayers to saints? Prayers for the dead? Contemplative prayer?  If it is any of these, you're not supposed to get an answer. If he's not talking about any of these, then he's misguided, as we will soon see.]

How do we know that "answered prayers" are illusions? We simply perform scientific experiments. We ask a group of believers to pray for something and then we watch what happens.

[In theory, that might make sense but in practice, atheists often dismiss confirmed studies or facts that don't agree with them. Why? Mostly, because they claim the study was biased somehow. Let's ignore how you're supposed to refute what they're saying and not attacking the person making them and let's move on.]

 What we find, whenever we test the efficacy of prayer scientifically, is that prayer has zero effect: 

  • It does not matter who prays.
  • It does not matter if we pray to God, Allah, Vishnu, Zeus, Ra or any other human god.
  • It does not matter what we pray about.
If we perform scientific, double-blind tests on prayer, and if the prayers involve something concrete and measurable (for example, healing people with cancer), we know that there is zero effect from prayer."

[That is a complete lie. Studies have shown prayer does help people recover faster after surgery, help them have less mental and physical problems, and have better life outlook.] 

 "Every single "answered prayer" is nothing more than a coincidence."

[This depends what is meant by coincidence. Is it coincidence that a bell rings and you hear a sound or you eat and you get less hungry with each bite? While those might be more cause and affect then coincidence, consider the mathematical improbabilities to alternative explanations. This will come into play a little later.]

Both scientific experiments and your everyday observations of the world show this to be the case every single time.

For example, this article says:
    One of the most scientifically rigorous studies yet, published earlier this month, found that the prayers of a distant congregation did not reduce the major complications or death rate in patients hospitalized for heart treatments.
    A review of 17 past studies of ''distant healing," published in 2003 by a British researcher, found no significant effect for prayer or other healing methods.
This article from March, 2006 discusses the fact that the same conclusion was reached in another study:

    In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications. 

    [Interesting but suffers from one major problem: if he is so quick to dismiss prayer because it's "just a coincidence", couldn't an equal and better case be made that prayer not working is just a coincidence or would that be too biased for atheist's taste?]
In this article we find an amazing quote where theologians and religious leaders declare that prayer has no actual effect:
    Religious leaders will breathe a sigh of relief at the news that so-called intercessory prayer is medically ineffective. In a large and much touted scientific study, one group of patients was told that strangers would pray for them, a second group was told strangers might or might not pray for them, and a third group was not prayed for at all. The $2.4 million study found that the strangers' prayers did not help patients' recovery. 
    [A very misleading statement from an ill informed article. The only people they mention are Paul Tillich and Karl Barth. Both were theologians but neither were ever considered religious leaders. The quote is from the article's author, not from a religious leader. I like the part where it claims the Lord's Prayer doesn't ask God to intervene in human affairs....except for that whole "lead us not into temptation" thing.]
This is a remarkable example of "positive spin" -- religious leaders are "breathing a sigh of relief" because prayer has been shown to be meaningless. The fact that prayer is a total waste of time does not matter to them. 

[ If anything, his article is total waste of time. While the jury overall is still out as to whether prayer's effects can be proven by strict science, here's what we do so far:
1. A study in British Medical Journal in 2001 showed by praying a rosary,  baroreflex sensitivity increased significantly in cardiovascular patients. 
2. Another 2008 study showed higher levels of prayer were associated with better mental health as measured by lower psychoticism scores.
3. A 2001 study by Meisenhelder and Chandler analyzed data obtained from 1,421 Presbyterian pastors surveyed by mail and found that their self-reported frequency of prayer was well-correlated with their self-perception of health and vitality. 
Do these sound like a waste of time to you?]

It does not matter that all of Jesus' promises about prayer in the Bible have been proven completely false. 

[More about this to come]

 A peer-reviewed scientific study published in 2001 did indicate that prayer works. According to this article:
    "On October 2, 2001, the New York Times reported that researchers at prestigious Columbia University Medical Center in New York had discovered something quite extraordinary. Using virtually foolproof scientific methods the researchers had demonstrated that infertile women who were prayed for by Christian prayer groups became pregnant twice as often as those who did not have people praying for them. The study was published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. Even the researchers were shocked. The study's results could only be described as miraculous."
This study was later proven to be completely fraudulent. However, everyone who cut out the original article in the NYTimes and posted it on their refrigerators still has that article as "proof" that prayer works. This article entitled A prayer before dying uncovers another case where a "scientific study" of prayer is unmasked as fraudulent.

[So what about the ones that were not fraudulent?]
The dictionary defines the word "superstition" in this way:

    An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome. [ref

    [Prayer has never been considered superstition]

The belief in prayer is a superstition. It has been proven scientifically over and over again.
[Except it hasn't as several verified studies have shown.]

Another proof that atheists are idiots.