On praying for rain

2015-11-19 07:09

People are generally immature when coping with uncertainty. Did you know that droughts are caused by the sins of a society? According to this heavenly explanation, the invisible man punishes us when society’s sin levels get too high. He is all good, all powerful and all knowing but he is not very precise at directing his anger. Instead, he sloppily cuts an entire sub continent’s rainfall levels and so among those punished are innocent children already beleaguered by poverty, and let us not forget the suffering of many other helpless species. I don’t know about you but to me this sounds more like the actions of a politician than some supernatural being. Anyway, it got me thinking, if (theological) sin was the cause, would the Earth not be completely barren by now, and would the human species not be extinct? It seems to me there are just a few tiny flaws in this sin-causes-drought hypothesis.

There are two other plausible earthly explanations for the drought. First, it may be natural. We may assume that nature is stable – the biases of anthropomorphic and teleological thinking – however, if you observed carefully over your lifetime, you would have noticed, it is not. Why are we surprised then, when the natural system fluctuates from time to time? Why are we so surprised to find out that nature is disinterested and indifferent to our trivial plans? I am not sure why we would expect a 4.5 billion year old planet to give a damn about our annual rainfall needs in the first place. But I suspect that our limitless self-importance may have something to do with it. Second, we may have contributed to this event through our unlimited desire to produce and consume in recent times. This is especially true of our friends in the West and the newcomers from the East. Perhaps we are now starting to see the effects of rampant industrialisation on global warming.

These two educated guesses and perhaps their interaction seems a much more likely explanation than some superstitious claptrap. I mean, you try figure how the human species, one that shares a common ancestor with apes, through sounds or mere thoughts, can command the trajectory of nature. What mechanism in their prayer accounts for changes to the physical laws of nature? Perhaps, a lot of hot air. What utter arrogance.

All contemporary social problems seem to have one thing in common. Most people blindly accept important beliefs about their in-group and delude themselves that they have a special place on this planet. A few individuals have given us incredible knowledge on how to build physical systems that ensures our survival. How ironic it is that the greatest threat to our survival is symbolic systems? Can you believe it? The fate of humanity rests on stories that groups of people made up to convince themselves they alone are special. How absurd.

I think these kinds of people need to grow up, because like it or not, their group’s uniqueness is ultimately a fiction. Just another feel good story. They need to learn to live with this fact.

Beliefs supported by evidence. Is it really that difficult?

Anyway, to those people who believe in faith not facts, next time, some pre-emptive prayer would be welcome. Why wait for a crisis? Unless a crisis is a perfect time for fund raising and recruitment, and prayer just an effective form of advertising. God knows you need more money and more gullible followers.

And by the way when praying for rain, can you specify ‘no hail’ please?

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AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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