Sunday, January 06, 2008

Time is running out!

Do you believe in a God who responds reliably to prayer? Do you believe in the supernatural? Do you know anyone who has paranormal powers? Do you think those guys on TV really get messages from dead people?

James Randi's One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge is still in effect - a million smackeroos to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.

However, it will end in two years. Get your application here.

Now remember - don't burden them with theories, philosophical observations, previous examples, anecdotal evidence or other comments! They are only interested in an actual demonstration. They also will not accept claims of the existence of deities or demons/angels, the validity of exorcism, religious claims, cloudbusting, causing the Sun to rise or the stars to move, etc. - just show them the evidence under controlled conditions.

I really think Pat Robertson should apply, since God has been talking to him about the results of the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Or is your God so omnipotent that He can deliberately mess up the results of any experiment that any mere human can devise to demonstrate His power? What, He won't cooperate even if the money was to be donated to a good cause? That just doesn't seem nice.

He didn't respond positively to prayers for the recovery of over 1800 people undergoing heart surgery - in fact, He induced more complications in the people who knew they were being prayed for. Nor did He help heart patients being prayed for by Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist groups in another study involving 748 subjects. Now that doesn't seem very kind and merciful - in fact, He seems pretty obstinate and cantankerous. "Gosh, Mr. Heart Patient, it's a darned shame that you were enrolled in that prayer study, because otherwise God surely would have responded to those intercessory prayers and you would have been fixed up right as rain. . . ."

16 comments:

Kevin said...

I have a premonition that...no one will collect...

Ellie Hamilton said...

I'm in trouble now.... I've written my thoughts on it over at my own blog.

Nancy Toby said...

What's the trouble? You're right.

I just don't see any benefit in investing a lot of time and effort in a Diety that can't even show up and demonstrate His powers reliably.... I sure wouldn't hire anyone like that!

Ellie Hamilton said...

It's not that He can't. It's that He won't.... not on a dare. He asks to be received, not proven.

That's what I believe. I can't prove it. Any evidence I present would be anectodal.

Nancy Toby said...

Not even for a million dollars worth of life-giving aid to starving AIDS orphan drought refugees in central Africa?

Now that just isn't very nice of him, like I said.

Ellie Hamilton said...

There are plenty of sources of million-dollar donations to all kinds of causes God cares about. Why would He stoop to something as demeaning as being scientifically proven for a sum of money?

Nancy Toby said...

Oh, those poor dear neglected and forgotten orphans.

So science is demeaning now? Not to me, or anyone I know who benefits from it.... why would He set up the laws of nature if he didn't expect us to examine and follow them?

Brent Buckner said...

Deuteronomy 6:16 is one reason in the Judeo-Christian tradition for not expecting to reject the null
(e.g. link)

Nancy Toby said...

Gosh, there are a whole lot of directives in Deuteronomy - are you saying that we're still responsible for following every one of them!!? If so, most of modern Christianity is in deep doo-doo!

Brent Buckner said...

No, Nancy, I'm saying nothing more than what I wrote.

Ellie Hamilton said...

Science is not demeaning in any way, and that's not what I said, or at any rate not what I meant. What I meant was said better by a contributor to the article about the 1800 people who weren't appreciably helped by prayer:

"The problem with studying religion scientifically is that you do violence to the phenomenon by reducing it to basic elements that can be quantified, and that makes for bad science and bad religion," said Dr. Richard Sloan, a professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia and author of a forthcoming book, "Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine."

Iron "GeekGirl" Misty said...

Did I ever tell you I was a recovering fundamentalist? The stock answer to the questions as to why the research results are the way they are is that, god will not be tested. He'll not be quantified, he's too big for that. Convenient, neh?

Nancy Toby said...

Ha!! We think alike. I was just saying this on one of my email lists today:

It also occurred to me that the "not amenable to testing" part is also the universal escape clause of charlatans, hoaxsters, and cult leaders. Now if you had a definitive test to determine between the "supernatural" acts of a hoaxster and the "supernatural" acts of the One True God....

Iron "GeekGirl" Misty said...

PS: I still believe that he made himself visible on my driveway last week. Now, if only my belief were somehow evidence...but then again, belief means contrary to evidence, right? Darn evidence all to heck. It's such a pesky concept, having to show evidence for something before we fund it with tax dollars and legislation. Darn it all...

Nancy Toby said...

If you know in your heart it was HIM, that's all the evidence anyone needs!!!!

Ellie Hamilton said...

And there, folks, is the whole thing in a nutshell. Well-said, Nancy. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible; for those who do, none is necessary.