Response to John Amato's Request That We Pray for Japan

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.

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Instead of asking for prayers, why not do something productive, like asking people to send donations towards disaster relief?
Well, you don't have to do that.  As atheists, we have no sense of moral responsibility.  We can honestly say we are not our brothers' keeper.
You're right.  How silly of me.  I think I'll go have sex with many anonymous women and take that money I was going to give to the relief effort and use it for abortions.  :D
"Partial birth" no doubt -- you see, after Luntz taught the PAC'S how to use newspeak, they come up with silly euphemisms for their buzz words in hot button issue debates.  The gullible masses, one of whom asked a friend the other day what a "philanthropist" is, eat the stuff up. It's tit for tat, too: when the dogmatic anti-abortionists started calling themselves "pro-life," implying pro-abortion advocates were pro-death, the latter started calling themselves "pro-choice."  As Korzybski observed, the map ain't the territory.
I am unbelievablly computer illiterate. So I am not at all sure I am doing this "address pasting" thing at all correctly, but here goes.

I think Mr. A.C. Graylings response articulates our general response to anyone's request for prayers. My only criticism of Mr. Graylings response is that I think he is too unaware of how irationality humans can be. We are quite capable of compartmentalizationing different ideas so that we often are entirety unaware of any of t contradictions inherent in praying to an entity that is beloved to be both omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. Ad such a request for prayers can be seen as useless and misguided, but well intentioned anyway.


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