The God Effect

God_PillFriendly Atheist today has a great post on a  Christianity Today Article ( by the Fung brothers) that twists the STEP study for their purpose.  Intercessory prayer does not work, but read his article to see the cool rationalization attempted by these Christians.

Many studies have been done of prayer and depending on who does them and methodology, occasionally one will show a slight effect in favor of god-power.  Of course analysis always show a design fault or bias of the study, but come on !  It is GOD we are studying.  In medicine, when we study difference between drugs, we look for small improvements in outcomes so we can switch from one drug to one which is a little better.  But here, it is an ALL-POWERFUL compassionate god vs. no god which we are comparing.  The God effect should NOT BE SUBTLE !  Seriously folks, this is not like comparing two drugs.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

4 responses to “The God Effect

  1. It seems that you presume a personal or personified God as the only proposed option for the existence of transcendance. With this presupposition in place I would have to agree with you. However, there seems to be plenty of scientific evidence for physical or psychological benefit on a quantum level. What philisophy calls metaphysics and science calls virtual or quantum reality both point to a transcendant reality which on a sub atomic level can be interacted with for the good of the individual. You argue that the debate is only between “ALL-POWERFUL compassionate god vs. no god “. However, I would argue that their exists this third option of an impersonal transcendant essence.

  2. I read your monkey post and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have never heard that distinction but it definately resonates with me. I do have a question for you after tooling around on your blog for a little while. Would you say that your monkey God lacks consciousness or that “he” simply transcends any human conception or perception of the linguistic construct? Also, you seem to have a fair amount of compassion for theists. Do you feel there is any positive role for mythology or religion in society moving forward.

  3. Jeremy — very good questions, thank you.

    1) Yes, the Monkey God transcends any human conception but heck, we can’t stop making metaphors, eh? Even consciousness is largely metaphoric but that is a whole other cognitive science conversation. Alas, so much to understand and we are mere bugs !

    2) I think our hearts (minds) are key — beliefs are simply tools (without the substance we imagine) to move mind and heart. It is not the particular beliefs, per se, that matter but how they relate to all other beliefs (what I call our web of beliefs), how they link to our various selves and how they link to our world that matter. Thus I often use the metaphor as beliefs as mere clothing — lots of different clothing work but they have to be appropriate to the environment.

    That is a round-about way of saying mythology/religion can move society forward or backward — it depends on how it is used. Not all truth is useful depending on one’s web of beliefs. I hide much truth from my children, slowly revealing things as they build other tools to handle them. Mythology and metaphor are inescapable, we all use them and are used by them. It is the nature of the human mind.

    I wager that we agree (albeit our clothing may differ a bit)?

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