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The Last Contrarian
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Challenge to Believers #1

20 April 2012, 07:02

Occasionally, I like step back from the pulpit and simply pose some questions to the faithful. Because I, unlike them, am actually here hoping that someone will prove me wrong and enhance my understanding of reality. I have no problem admitting you are right; just prove it to me first.

I give the faithful a snowball’s chance in hell that they will actually do so—if past success can help us predict future success—but I must remain true to my scientific convictions. At any moment, anyone could come forward with proof that would require me to abandon my current perceptions; this is why I dedicate this article to asking questions that I would like answers to. Please note: I will also make comments regarding CURRENT explanations and claims from the faith camp; we would not want this discussion to become boring, now would we?

Let’s start with a banality of sorts, medical miracles. There is not a hospital on this planet where someone (believer or nonbeliever) will not claim to have seen a miracle happen before their very eyes. But we can’t just take people’s word on these matters, we need some evidence to support it. After all, you may have seen a medical miracle and you may have no reason to lie about that or exaggerate your claim, but sadly, we also have no reason to believe you UNLESS you have proof. Be prepared with your evidence to turn us into believers whether we want to believe or not, because this, after all, is how it works in science.

If you want to be the sort of person that says, “Well, I don’t care if you believe me or not, I know what I saw!” Well then fine, but don’t you think if the roles were reversed that you would be the one demanding the proof? More so, if I wanted you to believe in say, ermmmm bigfoot, would it not be reasonable of you to ask me for some corroborating evidence? I mean, I can claim to see through walls but refuse to be tested because I feel  it is unethical of people to simply assume I’m lying about such a thing; I can claim to know the lotto numbers for this weekend’s draw but explain that it would be against ‘universal laws’ if I were to demonstrate my claim (ala Sylvia Brown).

See, logic and reason are not so ILLOGICAL and UNREASONABLE as some here like to claim. They seem to help us separate the village idiot(s) from the rest of the tribe. So with that spelled out, let me move to the steak and potatoes of my article.

Please, oh so very please, explain to me… how it is that ‘a god’ can cure terminal illness, bring back people from the dead, and help the paralyzed to walk again, yet lacks the ability to make a SINGLE FINGER grow back on the hand of an amputee? Is it really so hard to make a limb grow back when one considers that this ‘being’ can cure cancer and raise the dead.

Show me one soldier in the USA who is a christian, from a christian family, in a christian community, who had his leg blown off whilst performing his duties as a field medic (see I chose my words carefully: not a soldier fighting for the liberation of the oppressed, no, because then god has every right to take off his leg… oh but wait, he’s still helping in the war…. nah scrap that idea), who appeared on national television with his leg miraculously grown back from the stump he had 6 months earlier. Show me this, please, because then I and every other atheist here will have to admit that they may be something supernatural at work here. It still won’t prove it is YOUR god doing the deed (oh wait, christians prayed for him? Ok, jehova it is then!), but it will definitely shut us up about there not being any evidence for the supernatural.

 You see it is very easy to misdiagnose—even for a trained medical expert—things like cancer, permanent paralysis, permanent brain damage, or even death. Doctors rely on X-rays, EKG machines, catscans, etc. to make diagnoses. Sometimes a disease or injury is at the borderline, it could be permanent/fatal, or it could be temporary/benign.  See we have perfectly fine explanation that could account for at least 99% of cases worldwide where the prognosis was not vindicated by the progression. People make mistakes! Doctors make mistakes! Some doctors come to work with a hangover, or simply have too many patients to deal with and do so shoddy work in between.

We have proof, statistics, and confessions, by the book full, proving that doctors get things wrong almost as much as they get them right. So my honest question is, where is god in all this? Surely, god can’t take the credit if the doctor misdiagnosed brain swelling as a stage-four brain tumor, can he? But the faithful remain adamant, “It is a MIRACLE I tell you!”

This is like the pope, who periodically leaves his dungeon, where he has scores of naked young boys tied up in contorted positions, to strengthen the faith of believers by claiming that he has seen manifest gods power on earth by witnessing another supernatural intervention (miracle) by the hands of god himself!

Oh come on, you don’t have to find child rape and sodomy sick to sit we me around this campfire discussion. You need only use that organ that keeps your heart beating and your lungs drawing air to agree see my point on this one. The pope has claimed that an aircraft that suffered mechanical failure in mid-air flight, yet landed without casualties is a MIRACLE from god; the pope has claimed that critical brain surgery performed on a newborn child to save its life is a MIRACLE from god because the child pulled through. That’s nice Mr. pope Been-a-dick the 16th, discredit the valorous actions of the skilled pilots and surgeons operating on a newborn for 24 hours, and just claim your sky daddy is the one who really did the intervention. It  grows the Vatican’s coffers right?

Now to come back to the point I was busy making about the amputated limbs. Why do I think we need a case of a regrown, fully functional limb (with verifiable proof that the limb was indeed blown to pieces) BEFORE we can start believing in medical miracles? That is because it is pretty fucking hard to misdiagnose an amputated limb! You need to go to a blind doctor with severe nerve damage in his hands to get this diagnosis wrong. So to the faithful who profess a belief in miracle and who stake their reputation on the claim that they have seen medical miracles happen, in front of their eyes, I now give you the stage to show me a CREDIBLE case where a severed and destroyed limb grew back, fully functional. You can add details like what sort of religious people were praying for the victim, etc. We will analyse those after we have our first case study.

Any takers?

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