Monday, 5 September 2016

Prayer

"Keep praying."
"I'll pray for you."
"It's in God's hands now." 
"Have faith."
These words are probably uttered millions of times a day in hospitals all around the world.  I've overheard them countless times from family members, friends, nurses, techs, and my fellow doctors.  On first glance they certainly seem innocuous enough - they appear to be uplifting, caring, and supportive, right?

I, on the other hand, tend not to put much faith in faith, so I don't use such language.  To me prayer accomplishes the exact same thing in medicine as putting a banana in your ear - absolutely nothing.

I'm sure there are some religious folks out there reading this with steam coming out of their ears, and to you I merely say "Have faith".  I'll guarantee I will explain my position in due time.  I will not, however, guarantee that you will agree with me.

Now that I think about it, I've changed my mind.  I'll let Adriana (not her real name™) explain.  After reading one of my recent blog posts, her aggravation at the recent shoddy treatment of doctors in the media was reignited.  Because of recent events in her family, she was keenly aware that sometimes when doctors tell family members that their loved one is dead or dying, we are seen as heartless cretins with no soul, no compassion, no empathy.  We are seen as insensitive and unkind. . . for telling the truth.

This reminded me of a cartoon I've seen several times:
Cartoon by Clay Bennett
People in difficult situations don't want to hear the difficult truth - they want to hear something that makes them feel better, even if it isn't completely true.  So friends and family members tell them things to try to make them feel better - to have faith and pray.

But what does that really mean?  Does it help?  No, I'm not asking if prayer helps the patient get better (it doesn't), I'm asking if it helps the grieving family.

Adriana certainly doesn't seem to think so.
Please forgive the writing format and any spelling errors.  I am on autopilot right now.  My husband's grandmother has been in the hospital for a month now, and her husband has finally reached the point of admitting she is not going to get better.  She is unable to communicate and has a trach {a surgical breathing tube}, breathing machine and all the rest of the equipment that is keeping her alive.  We have learned about palliative and hospice care.  I have watched my almost 12-year-old cry and ask why bad things happen to her great grandparents around her even numbered birthdays.  Our 8-year-old just clams up and screams once in a while how much she hates what is happening and when is her Nanny coming home.  They can't see her anymore because it is too traumatic now.  My husband has just started college and he is trying to focus on his classes in the middle of trying to keep our kids and his mom (she is an only child) together during this hellish time.  It looks like this is the last weekend of being in limbo because her husband has finally decided to let her go peacefully and stop holding on to his unicorns and rainbows about the situation. 
The one thing that I can't seem to act properly about is when people keep telling us to pray for a miracle and that God always listens to His people.  We have faith.  We also understand that it is up to God on if we get that miracle.  I guess we didn't fill out the proper request chit because that miracle isn't going to happen and I really want to throat punch the next well-meaning person who tells us to keep praying and have faith.   
Share this if you want to and feel free to fix this up to make it look like it was written by someone who has their act together with the name removed please.  People need to stop telling us and anyone else to keep praying and having faith for a miracle.  They are just making it worse on all of us.  We keep a straight face, but we really want to slap the ignorant out of you guys when we hear that and have to tell you we are losing her and it seems to be God's plan.  We are not mad at God, but this hurts like hell already and making us feel like we just don't have enough faith to override what is happening dumps more crap on us.
I think that sums it up.  Telling someone to keep praying will never help, for several reasons:
  1. Prayer will not help someone get better.
  2. Telling someone who is not religious to pray will not make them feel better.
  3. Telling someone who is religious to pray will not make them feel better, because they already know that they are supposed to pray, and it implies that they are just not praying hard enough.
Will this change any minds?  I seriously doubt it.  By definition those with faith take everything, well, on faith,  But perhaps you'll at least think twice next time you tell someone to pray.

I have faith that you will.

82 comments:

  1. When my father was 5 his younger brother was dying of cancer. A priest told him to pray and hed get better.
    He didnt.
    And the priest told him he didnt pray hard enough.
    You can guess where my dad stands on these matters.
    Connor

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  2. I believe in the power of faith and prayers. I have always and will always pray. After the death of my father, I got a new understanding which is that God does not necessarily answer my prayers the way I prayed, He can choose to answer it in his own way and in his time. Sometimes, the answer to our prayers is no but were usually too petulant to receive the answers when they don't align with our requests.

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    1. Just keep that to yourself when talking to people who are losing or have lost loved ones. They really don't it at that time in their lives.

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    2. Dear me, what nonsense.

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  3. I have never prayed. I never taught my 5 kids to pray, they are grown now and only 1 of them goes to church but he never asks me to pray. I have cousins on my Facebook friends list that are always posting prayers, I never say anything about it. When I had neck surgery they all prayed for me even though I said please don't. After my surgery for a false diagnosis, they said it was the praying , I said no, it was because of a false positive test. I still don't pray.
    Mary

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  5. 12 years ago my grandpa died because of cancer and few days before the funeral, the priest said to my grandma that he died because she didn't pray.

    I still resent that priest.

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    1. At my great-grandmother's funeral the Russian Orthodox priest implied to my parents and grandmother that my great-grandmother was dead because she hadn't attended mass in years. The fool knew full well that she had also been bed-ridden for years, and that he had never once visited her bedside. A crock of **** if you ask me.

      That said, saying 'have faith' does not always imply a religious intention. For instance, it is always possible someone means to have faith in doctors, or have faith in medicine - not blind faith, and not for a miraculous cure, but healing within the bounds of medicine. The rest of it is, of course, a crock of ****. :-)

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    2. Shame on those who call themselves priests (or ministers, rabbis, imams, or any other person who has chosen the vocation of "spiritual leader) for these kinds of statements. They should be *comforting* the bereaved families dealing with their loved one's transition, not laying a guilt trip on them!

      And, it's just plain ignorant of the "faith" they claim to profess.

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  6. I pray, but I pray for the best outcome. In many cases, the best outcome is death rather than to keep lingering.

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  7. One can also pray for an end to suffering, or for acceptance of God's will. Telling someone that the outcome is due to their prayer being insufficient is an asshole move either way.

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    1. I pray. I also know that God will answer every prayer-but that sometimes the answer is NO!
      The Bible says were all are going to die, and I think in the few thousand years we have been here, no one has ever defied that! Some of these nutjobs that think prayer will heal even the dead kinda forgot that God told us none of us wil escape death!

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    2. Anon, that we are all going to die is a fact of Nature, nothing to do with the Bible.

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  8. caution: religious doctrine ahead:

    prayer is requesting God to do something. God is not required to obey us. we are required to obey God, and if we would shut up and listen to what we want, we would hear God telling us when there are reasons why He is not giving us our request.
    God is not in the habit of breaking the laws of nature so his creation can be enabled in their selfishness. demanding miraculous healings is selfishness. on the occasions when I make public prayer for a miracle, I make a point of being clear for those hearing it. (we don't need to pray in the out-loud voice for God to hear us) that I am ASKING for a FAVOR, and that I understand God knows better than I do, and has the last word. then I pray that people will help the sufferers and give them comfort.

    as the bible says (Ken's colloquial edition) if you see someone with a problem and tell them "I'll pray for you" but don't actually DO anything to help them, then you're not helping.

    the expression "I'll pray for you" is used more often as a cop-out or as an attack than it is ever used to help people.

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    1. Totally agree. And, as "Adriana" and others have already stated so well, those who suggest that the suffering and death of our loved ones (or whatever other major distress we are facing at the moment) is due to our "not praying enough," "not having enough faith," or some other implied character flaw understand neither prayer nor faith.

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    2. the suffering and death of our loved ones is due to our living on a planet where we spent most of our history ignoring the negative consequences of our actions.

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    3. We are emphatically not required to "obey" a superstitious invention of primitive minds.

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  9. When my mother was ill, I prayed that G-d would aid the doctors treating her. When my father lay dying in the hospital, I prayed that G-d would do what was best for my father. Praying for a specific outcome will lead to disappointment.

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    1. I feel the same way.

      Most of our discussion here has focused on praying for recovery of a loved one who is ill, and the more intense situation of praying that a loved one who is *terminally* ill or injured will survive. But think about all the other "outcomes" that may be important to us in certain situations...when we're *competing* for something.

      An employer has one job available to fill. Ten people in need of work apply. Are the nine people who don't get hired somehow less worthy in God's eyes because they didn't pray hard enough, or didn't have enough faith? Probably not. More likely, the employer just chose the person whose qualifications and experience were the best match for the job.

      In sports, if we're athletes, we hope we, or our team, will win. If we're fans, we hope for a win for our favorites. But...so do those against whom we're competing. If I were to pray for a win for my team, and you prayed for a win for your team against them, is the outcome based on which one of us "prayed harder," or maybe which team had *more* fans praying for them? Not likely. The game's outcome will be a combination of the skills of the players, and a bit of chance, during a *particular* game.

      Nobody gets their wishes granted *all* the time.

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  10. Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my diagnosis of cancer. It's been quite a year and I'm pleased to be alive to whine about the pain in my joints courtesy of chemotherapy that saved my life.

    Most useless comments were from people who knew I was sick and only ever said, "I'll pray for you" or "We prayed for you!". Completely utterly worthless sentiments that did nothing helpful for me or my family.

    Even a fucking craptacular get-well card or a lousy phone call to me or my family asking after our well-being, or an offer of a pizza delivery would have been helpful. Words that they find to be comforting simply underscored the fact that saying, "I'll pray for you" is the equivalent of saying, "I'm sorry" but continuing to behave badly. It lets the speaker feel as though they did the right thing without doing anything at all.

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  11. Here's my two cents on it. When I say I am praying for a situation, I am praying for the strength to deal with it in whatever way it falls. I am not expecting the prayer to "fix" anything. If I pray for a person, I am praying they feel the love and support I cannot give in person being too far away. I do tangible things as well such as cards, flowers, etc. But that is what prayer means to me.

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  12. There's an interesting story in the Talmud about prayer at the end of life. Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi (a major Talmudic sage usually known just as Rabbi) was dying and his colleagues had gathered to pray (they didn't have much in the way of medicine at that time). First, they decreed that anyone who said Rabbi had died would be killed (how's that for denial). Rabbi's maidservant prayed, "the heavens and those on earth are fighting over Rabbi's soul; let those on earth win."

    Then she noticed how much Rabbi was suffering. So she prayed that heaven would win. No dice. So she went up on the roof with an earthenware pitcher and threw it down so that it crashed on the ground. That stopped the praying, and Rabbi died.

    Praying for our own comfort is fine. Praying for the best for another is fine, as long we recognize, as someone above pointed out, that the answer (if one wants to conceive of a God that answers) might not be what we want. Getting the answer we want is not what faith is. Blaming the outcome on someone's prayer technique is beyond ridiculous. It means you think you're God. You're not.

    All that being said, there is a difference between maintaining a strictly scientific approach, leaving religion out of things and being callous. I'm sure most doctors work very hard at not being callous, in the middle of the other 1001 things they are expected to do. But sadly, a lot of us have experienced, at some time or another, not Doc Bastard, but a doc who is just...a bastard.

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  13. The number of offensive prayer comments I heard when my husband was dying, and after his death, was astounding. The criminally ignorant things said to our children (ages 7-12) have permanently soured them on religion and churchy crap.
    None are interested in church or prayer warriors....They went to grad school instead.

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  14. I never pray, and when people tell me to pray for something or someone, I usually tell them that I'll keep them in my thoughts, or that I hope for the best outcome.

    When people tell me that they pray for me or someone close to me, I treat that as if they had just told me to have a nice day: I say a short, polite "thank you" and instantly forget about it.

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  15. Well the problem with this post is: Dr. says you have pneumonia. You don't. You have lung cancer. Was the Dr. lying? Let's hope not. The Dr. BELIEVED that the diagnosis was correct. In other words the Dr. had FAITH in his diagnosis. But was wrong anyway. Talk about misguided faith. Turns out you don't have lung cancer either. Turns out they (Dr.s) don't know what the hell you have and no antibiotic works. But doesn't matter because the pancreatic cancer you really do have kills you anyway. You can say you are telling the truth and believe it. You can still be wrong. The nice thing about prayer is it doesn't tend to kill you. No such thing as a misdiagnosed prayer. And you don't really need to get a second opinion about your prayer. No so in medicine

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    1. Ah, "belief" and "faith" are not equivalent words in English. In trying to equate them, you are doing a very powerful concept--the concept of faith--an extreme disservice.

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    2. Unknown - You are conflating "Prayer doesn't help" with "Prayer isn't harmful". There is a difference.

      You seem to be arguing that faith is better than medicine because doctors make mistakes and faith...isn't harmful. That's a ridiculously weak argument, if one could call it an argument at all.

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  16. Anyone who wishes to pray for me is perfectly welcome to do so, and perfectly welcome to tell me that that is what they are doing. I don't understand people who resent this. Maybe it does no good....but at worst it does no harm. Do voodoo, kill chickens, say prayers, feel perfectly free.

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    1. Prayer itself may not do harm but those doing it can. Such as claiming the reason X happened was you didnt pray enough and thus deserve x.

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  17. I think it depends on context. "I'll pray for you" is much different than "Pray for a miracle". The first one is just a way of saying your in someone's thoughts. Telling someone to pray for a miracle sort of puts the blame on them for not praying hard enough when a miracle doesn't happen.



    I am not religious, so I just tell people I'm thinking of them. But it doesn't bug me if people say they're praying for me. I take it as a good gesture.

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    1. Context definitely matters. I'm not particularly religious so when I tell someone I'm praying for them, it's always for someone who will appreciate it. In fact, I lit candles in churches when I visited Europe as a sort of gift for one uber religious friend (along with chocolate and pretty things).

      I think it's the pat almost reflexive 'I'm praying for you' unfollowed by what can I do that has to be the most frustrating.

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  18. Shark nailed it; it depends on the context. I appreciate it when someone tells me they are praying for me, or that they are thinking of me. Personally, I almost never tell someone that I am praying for them. I usually just tell a person that I am there for them if they need anything. When I do pray for someone, I just pray that they get whatever they need to get through whatever they are going through. I believe in God, but I also believe in science. It truly upsets me that some people see doctors telling the truth as being cruel and heartless. What is really cruel and heartless is giving someone false hope, and telling someone that they didn't pray hard enough.

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  19. I’m rather ignorant about „prayer“, having being born an atheist (just like everybody else), but also having been raised as one. But I’ll say my piece anyway.

    I don’t get it.

    “God” is supposed to be all-knowing and omnipotent. There’s a lot of horrible suffering going on out there. If “god” is all-knowing and omnipotent, s/he/it could prevent it. Who do those praying think they are, trying to change their god’s mind? Isn’t that what praying is?

    My conclusion, people who are praying do not really believe in an all-knowing and omnipotent god, because if they did, they wouldn’t ask her/him/it to change his/her/its “mind”. Most people who declare they will pray, do so because it’s a lot easier than actually doing something useful.

    Softship

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    1. "Most people who declare they will pray, do so because it’s a lot easier than actually doing something useful.

      Softship"


      For the win!

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    2. short answer: because the alternative to having stupid things happen is to take away free will. and for whatever reason, God thinks free will is an important characteristic for people to have.

      tell me, did your parents do everything for you, unasked?

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    3. Why is it that we expect a perfect life, without suffering, sorrow and pain? Much of the suffering the world has could be alleviated by other humans - not God. I pray, but for things like strength and wisdom. It is more of a focus session of my mind and soul. I also pray for thanks/gratitude and it is also more like a focus session for my mind and soul. If someone in my life is ill or needs help, I offer to do things, I don't need to tell them I am praying for them, because in my actions I already am. I am there in the moment with them. When my mother was ill with cancer, I wasn't there to try to save her life, I was there to make her journey toward death a little more comfortable. Like the others said, I pray for the best outcome.

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    4. Ken Brown

      As far as your question whether my parents did everything for me, unasked - no, of course they did not. But neither they nor I ever claimed they were all-knowing and/or omnipotent.

      Softship

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    5. Generally, at the root of it praying is suppose to make the person praying feel better about the situation, not change the situation itself. It's a religious twist on "Help me change the things I can and accept the things I can't". It's just a way to give your worries to a higher power.

      Even atheists need a way to internally let go of worries or stress and be grateful for what is going well at the moment, be it meditation or centering yourself. It's why a lot of atheists who were raised with religion turn back because they haven't mastered an internal stress relief and find religion comforting. Otherwise, you end up stressed with no real release.

      Some people who aren't really educated in their religion see prayer as a bargaining tool to alter fate, when that has never been the intention to begin with. This only leads to resentment to religion or self because prayer or "good thoughts" don't change external circumstances.

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  20. Ken Brown,

    What "stupid things" did babies do to have to suffer? Was is just being born that was "stupid"?

    Softship

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    1. well, for one example, there was a child whose parents were told that continuing to not give him his medication would result in a fatal bronchospasm, yet they persisted in not providing his medication.

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    2. Ken Brown,

      That doesn't really answer the questions "What "stupid things" did babies do to have to suffer? Was it just being born that was "stupid"?"
      You answered with the stupid things the parents did (or didn't) do.

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    3. my goodness, what a coincidence.

      you challenge me about what stupid thing happened to a baby, and I cite a stupid thing a parent did. it's almost like I blame people who do bad things for bad things happening.

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    4. Ken Brown,

      I did not ask what "stupid thing happened to a baby", I did ask "What "stupid things" did babies DO to have to suffer? Was is just being born that was "stupid"?"

      Shall we talk some more about "stupid"? :-)

      Softship

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  21. To Anonymous re: "Why is it that we expect a perfect life, without suffering, sorrow and pain?"
    If there was a merciful, all-knowing and omnipotent god, yes, I would expect him/her/it to eliminate suffering.
    I "get" the praying to focus one's self, but I don't need a god nor prayer, I can just tell myself "get your act together!"
    As far as praying for the best outcome is concerned - Of course I also HOPE for the best outcome, but I don't think there is a being who takes influence. If that being could take influence, he/she/it is a ("§$%&/) for making those people suffer who don't have somebody to pray for them. That's not what I would consider a merciful, all-knowing and omnipotent being.

    Softship

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    1. ��Bravo Anon Sep 6 at 17:15.
      Exactly>" If there was a merciful, all-knowing and omnipotent god, yes, I would expect him/her/it to eliminate suffering."<<
      Of course the pat answer for that is "Because God gave man free will." SMH. That's the excuse why God isn't responsible for anything bad. Only the good, miraculous, the impossible, joyous, life saving, healing...God capable of and credited with.

      ~Nonbeliever

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  22. There are some books of the "Catholic" bible that are not in the King James version. One of these is Sirach. Chapter 38 reads:

    Honor the physician with the honor due him, according to your need of him, for the Lord created him;
    ...
    The skill of the physician lifts up his head, and in the presence of great men he is admired.

    The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible man will not despise them...
    By them he heals and takes away pain; the pharmacist makes of them a compound.

    ---Which has sort of been my (mostly agnostic) view. If God's gonna heal you, he's gonna do it by sending you a doctor who knows what to do.

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  23. It tickles me when hear someone saying that if God wanted their loved one, he would take them.

    I point out that their god did indeed want their loved one but the family/doctors went against their gods will and put their loved one on life support or death support in Jahi's case.
    They denied their god what he wanted.

    When their loved one finally dies whether it is from their life support/death support being turned off or as a result of something else going bosoms up, they often blame the doctors for not doing enough or for having ulterior motives (organ transplants are a popular choice) the loved one for not fighting enough, themselves for not praying enough, believing enough yet not god.

    If someone truly believed in their god then surely they should refuse all medical treatment and let god decide if he wants their loved one or not.
    If they die then god wanted them, if they survive then it was a miracle from god and not anything the doctors etc did.

    When i hear the argument that "only god can take a life" or the ever popular "who gave you the right to decide if they live or die" (aimed at whichever doctor drew the short straw usually when their loved one is hooked up to everything that goes, including the machine that goes BING! why do people promptly do everything they can to prevent their loved one from dying or admitting said person is dead, even when the person is brain dead and only kept alive by sundry machines?
    It can only be one or the other, if you have a faith then you can't pick and choose which bits you like and want to keep and which bits to ignore.

    I wonder, if god is the creator of the universe etc, omnipotent, etc who made god?
    Is there a Mr and Mrs god and he is their son/daughter?

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  24. Hey doc, I guess you are an accident believer then? A bunch of dust particles got together and here we are by accident, right? So you basically believe man is just a talking monkey.

    So many people believe they are so smart to think they completely understand the world they live in. I think it would be incredibly sad to not believe there is something more to life. If man were truly an animal, why don't we just go after each other daily like wild animals?

    But I think it's interesting that doctors have not even been able to solve the common cold. After all these years of modern science we still have to suffer with colds that last 2 weeks. What are you guys doing? Is that problem a little too tough for you to solve? I mean you seem to think you know everything about how the world works. Please cure the common cold. And tackle the flu too while you are at it genius.

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    1. Why hello there, Anon. I've been waiting for you. Let's see, what part of your stupidity shall I start with?

      1) You spew the common "man is a talking monkey" creationist bullshit. As you would certainly know if you had paid even an iota of attention in even a rudimentary biology class, humans and monkeys and apes are descended from a common ancestor. This is not a guess or a hypothesis, this is a verified fact.

      2) Yes, the origin of life was an accident. If you don't believe me, look up the 1952 Miller-Urey experiment and the follow-up analysis in 2010. I suspect you won't, so I'll break it down for you - they recreated the ancient environment of water, ammonia, methane, and hydrogen (absent of life), and they added electricity to simulate lightning. In only one week nearly every amino acid had been produced. BY ACCIDENT.

      3) No one except the most dishonest charlatan has ever claimed to completely understand the world. But we understand enough of it to know how it formed and why, unlike the ancient sheepherders who wrote the book you revere.

      4) I think it's sad that people feel so insecure that they need to believe in some higher power. "God" and religion are ancient pre-scientific constructs meant to A) explain scientific concepts (the sun rising, the origin of the world, etc) that people didn't understand at the time, and B) control the population. It is 2016 - we have no need for such nonsense.

      5) If you really don't think people go after each other on a daily basis, try turning on the news just once.

      6) As for the common cold, you have successfully demonstrated just how ignorant you are of medicine. There are over 200 different viruses that can cause the common cold, and different viruses cause symptoms in different ways. Would you like an individual treatment or vaccine for each of them?

      7) If you don't think research is underway to treat colds, try looking up double-stranded RNA activated caspase oligomerizer rather than spouting stupidity.

      I'm so glad we could clear this up. I will await your apology with bated breath.

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    2. I really enjoyed and appreciated your precise smack down but I fear it went whizzing right over the head of its intended target. In the face of too many facts such folks stick their fingers in their ears and loudly recite some nonsense syllables.

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    3. Usually something along the lines of blasphemer, heretic etc closely followed by stones or fire at worst or prayers for our 'soul' and threatening us with a lifetime of damnation by an entity we don't believe in in a location that doesn't exist, at best. :)

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    4. There is a cure for the common cold, all strains included. Just teach in a public school for twenty years. You will not get a cold or flu after about the tenth year. Of course, you will be deathly ill for the first five years. I am on year 30 of my career and haven't had a cold or the flu since the early 90's. I have close to 200 sick days accumulated. I should give the credit for lack of contracting the flu to the vaccination I get every fall.

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    5. just to be a troublemaker: how, exactly, did they recreate the beginning of the world environment and flash simulated lightning through it by accident? I've heard of some bizarre things happening by accident, but that is oddly specific.

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    6. on the other side of the coin, I wonder where anonymous lives where people DON'T go after each other daily like wild animals.

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    7. They added the chemicals above to simulate the atmosphere and ground/air chemical makeup and sparked it, simulating the lightning that would have been flashing about. The end result was a beaker full of amino acids.

      Accident? Yes.

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    8. when I mix flour, baking powder, salt, shortening, and milk, and cut the dough into discs and bake them at 425 for 12 minutes, the resultant biscuits didn't happen by accident.

      just to be a troublemaker.

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  25. My least favorite phrase is, "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." He sure as hell does!!

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    1. Paula, where have you been? Come back to the Indy group

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  26. It's funny how this is a highly cultural thing. You would actually not hear that that often in hospitals in France !

    Ho and about : "2-Telling someone who is not religious to pray will not make them feel better."
    It might actually be infuriating.

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  27. I have to admit that even though I'm an atheist, at times I do kinda wish I had access to the kind of comforting expressions that the religious are able to deploy when a friend is grieving.

    When my father was in the hospital last November, actively dying, the hospital chaplain came by and talked with us. She was nice, and didn't say any religious stuff that I would have found irksome ("God has a plan", etc). Just a chat about him, how long he and my Mom had been together, etc. We weren't really in need of a chaplain's visit, but it was nice that someone came by and asked.

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    1. our department cahaplain has that character, as well. since her only real duties are making official general-purpose-non-offensive prayers before denners, and assisting recently bereaved or nearly bereaved customers, she takes a lot of pride in being able to take care of the customer's immediate worldly needs, rather than trying to sell them fire insurance.
      (by which I mean helping them with such things as the inevitable paperwork)

      Delete
  28. I am a Christian, and I came to a realization during my surgical training that seems to be echoed in many posts here. That is, many of the agnostics or atheists, who scoff at the idea of divine intervention, seem to place their faith in their surgeons and the “rational” evidence based (check the funding) medical science. If you only knew how clueless we truly are about why certain disease occur and why certain treatments work, you would all be praying earnestly. Most surgeons think they are gods, but when you on this side of the operating table, you realize how little we know compared to what we think we know. You see, the general public don’t get a chance to sit in on a real morbidity and mortality conference. This goes for all of medicine, especially psychiatry. No honest person will tell you how SSRI’s truly work (don’t buy the serotonin reuptake theory because that’s just what it is) or if SSRI’s really really make patients better. Fear, no, run away from surgeons who appear god-like because many intraop and postop complications have its genesis in pure arrogance. I will take a humble God-fearing surgeon any day. This is from experience. We all have faith in something, and I’m telling you that having faith in a surgeon or “modern” medical science is really a misplaced faith that should be given to God. I hate to break this news to you, but lot of you here really need to wake up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous said "Most surgeons think they are gods, but when you on this side of the operating table, you realize how little we know compared to what we think we know"

      with all due respect it sounds to me like A) you think you're god, and B) you don't know as much as you think you do.

      While I agree with you about surgeons with god complexes being arrogant, I wholeheartedly disagree that "most" surgeons think they are god. I find the exact opposite - that very few think they are gods, and most of them actually are actually extraordinary surgeons. It's the ones that think they are gods and are not who should truly be feared and avoided.

      I am deeply offended by your statement that people should put their faith in god over people. God does not control my mind or my hands - I do. When I am successful, that is my success, not god's. And when I make a mistake, that is also mine, not god's.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous Christian Surgeon: I'm here to tell you that SSRIs saved my life. I don't care how they work. They work spectacularly for me. I second Doc's statement regarding putting faith in god over people. Why have doctors at all? Who needs middlemen (and middlewomen) when faith healers should be perfectly capable of taking care of things with the direct guidance of god?

      Delete
    3. You might want to expose yourself to bright light while doing exercise. Oh, look! Your serotonin level is way up there without suicidal thoughts!

      Delete
    4. and you might want to expose yourself to logical discourse. not that your credibility level will go up above the level of canned corn, anyway.

      Delete
    5. Yes, I scoff at "divine intervention". And no, I don't need to know why some treatment works, it's enough to know that it will work, or depending on the circumstances, that it might work, which is still better than it not having it at all (I'm a double lung-transplant recipient - survival 13+ years. I knew that I had about a 50% chance of it "working" for 5 years, which was a better chance than not having it at all. And believe me, I know perfectly well that none of my physicians know why my transplantation "worked" so well - despite my miserable prognosis - and others don't/didn't.)

      No we do not all have "faith" in something.... well, except for faith in the infinite stupidity of mankind.

      Softship

      Delete
    6. To Anonymous Christian:
      "Fear, no, run away from surgeons..." I have no faith in anybody who is "God-fearing." IF you are a "surgeon" -
      believe me, I'd be running out of that
      institution quicker than you could say; Quack quack- OMG it's another Dr. Byrne!

      ~Nonbeliever

      Delete
    7. Anonymous never came out and said he was a surgeon. He said during his surgical training which could be a scrub tech or an LPN who had clinicals for 2 days in surgery. With him talking about SSRI's, I'm tempted to think maybe he's an orderly on a psych ward and it's given him a God complex.

      Delete
  29. http://storytellerdoc.blogspot.com/2012/06/have-little.html

    DocBastard said...
    "As a father of two small children, I fear and pray for their health every day. I value their lives even over my own, and I can not imagine the pain you've had to endure watching your child suffer through this. Children just don't deserve to be sick."

    JUNE 20, 2012 AT 4:29 PM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's just an expression. I imagine you googled "docbastard pray" and found that, but I can't imagine why or what you think you're trying to prove.

      Delete
    2. To deny the validity of a prayer, all the while holding one’s own set of prayer could be construed as telling someone to do as I say, not as I do.

      Delete
    3. As I said, it's just an expression. It's like saying "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse".

      Delete
    4. I would imagine you also encourage them to eat a healthy diet, admonish them to look both ways before crossing the street, and take them to medical checkups, do you not? and if they get hit by a car while crossing the street, you will deem it was because they didn't look both ways, rather than because you didn't pray hard enough?

      Delete
    5. My God is better than your God. Oh, sorry, that was just an expression too.

      Delete
    6. Anon - There's a difference - my "just an expression" means simply "I hope", whereas your "just an expression" has been used to justify countless wars throughout history.

      Perhaps you should think before you comment.

      Delete
    7. To Anon Sep 13 at 20:58

      Give it up Johnny Wadd. You sad silly troll.����

      ~Nonbeliever

      Delete
  30. Methinks John Benton has now convinced himself he is a surgeon, in need of a proofreader I might add.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He fights for justice and freedom for all which means that another Prop. 46 is in the process of being developed.

      Delete
  31. Something i ponder about.

    When two sides go to war and both believe in the same god(s) and both pray to their god(s)to be on their side so they can win the battle on the morrow, what does the losing side have to say?

    We lost because you didn't pray hard enough?
    There weren't enough sacrificial whatevers?

    What would their god(s) have to say if confronted by both sides as to why he let one side win over the other when they both worship him/her/it/them?

    Is it a case of your god(s love us more than they love you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why I don't believe that "praying for a win," in *any* competitive situation, makes sense, as I stated in my earlier post.

      Delete

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