Wednesday, August 15, 2007

If prayers worked then why the pacemaker?

Conservative, fundamentalist Christian, Ron Paul, who is campaigning in the Republican Primary was recently in Iowa. Paul's wife, Carol, has had heart problems and was taken to the hospital on the day of the comedic Ames Straw Poll. And the next day a pacemaker was inserted.

Paul, who converted from mainstream Christianity to one of the fundamentalist Baptist sects, sent out a message to his disciples. He told them about the pacemaker and said "we are both so grateful for all your good wishes and praysers. They worked."

And while I'm glad Carol is doing well after the operation (she is a nice woman) I have to wonder about Paul's remarks. They are so typical of the magical mind that infects so many believers. He reports that Carol got a pacemaker inserted but says it was the good wishers and prayers that "worked". If prayers and good wishes worked then why the pacemaker?

And, while I wish her no ill will, I would wonder what would be said if the pacemaker didn't help? Would we hear the statement: "The doctors did all they could"?

Failure is often attributed to man and science. When man and science do their job well the results are attributed to a deity and religion. Yet rarely do these religionists only seek the help of religion. Paul was a physician himself and knows the science of his former profession -- now he is a full time politician. I would have thought he would have thanked the surgeons, and the nurses, and the men and women whose dedication to science made the pacemaker possible. Instead, non-contributing individuals who chanted words to a deity were thanked for their prayers which "worked".

Of course I'm a skeptic. I tend to think the prayers did nothing. Absent the pacemaker the prayers would not have been nearly as successful.

While I'm no supporter of Ron Paul I am glad Carol is better. But I do think this sort of magical thinking is insulting to the real people who helped make her better. Instead of pandering to his disciples and attributing Carol's recovery to their prayers Paul should have been loyal to his former profession and publicly thanked the doctors and the pacemaker. It was science and medicine that help not religion and prayer.


Blogger Indioheathen said...

The vast majority of voters he is pandering his candidacy to believe in the power of prayer, so strategically it makes more sense for him to publically thank the prayer-providers instead of just his fellows in the medical field.

August 15, 2007

Blogger Ethereal said...

I agree with you NGZ. I head about Mr Pauls wife and yes, I am glad that she is well and he should really thank the doctors, not religion.


August 15, 2007


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