John Amato publishes an excellent political blog, Crooks and Liars. In covering the Japanese earthquake-tsumani story, he asked readers to "pray for Japan." I sent the following comment:
John, I would like to introduce you to Christopher. Christopher, this is John. John doesn't seem to have caught on that prayers are as worthless as tits on a boar hog. People who pray are infected with the disease of hope. Hope, as Nietzsche observed, is the worst of the afflictions of believers. Nothing ever comes about "because" of prayer. The myth that it does springs from man's almost universal failure to understand post hoc reasoning. The best illustration is the ancient South Pacific tribe whose king died just after an eclipse of the sun. From then on, the tribe would kill any king who did not die after a solar eclipse because the "gods" demanded sacrifice as before. Post hoc ergo proper hoc: the eclipse did not cause the king's death. Today, science could tell us how the king died. It probably was heart failure. But it most surely was not because some god was angry at the South Pacific tribe. Christoper may be dying of brain cancer, just as I am dying of leukemia. Go ahead and pray for us if it makes you feel any better. But you will not cure us with your prayers.