Sunday, June 24, 2007

Last Refuge for the Desperate

One of the most perplexing elements of religious faith is prayer—the notion that, by pleading with God, one actually can cause changes for the better in the world. Of course, we see this strange practice in a great many of the world’s thousands of faiths, meaning multitudes of God characters all are being bombarded with requests great and small. The natural question, of course, is whether prayer actually does anything. In truth, I think most people already know the answer to that question; I make this judgment not based on what people do pray for, but based on what they do not.

There is a tremendously interesting website called “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?”, which hits upon an oft-ignored, yet universal, phenomenon: People do not pray for “impossible” things, but rather only things that possibly could happen by natural means. Essentially never do you see somebody pray for an amputee’s lost limb to grow back spontaneously. It is an incredibly rare occurrence for a grieving widow to pray that her deceased husband rise from the grave to rejoin her in matrimony. It is exceedingly uncommon for parents who wanted a baby girl, but got a baby boy, to pray that the infant’s gender changes. Why are flat-out impossible things hardly ever prayed for, when most God conceptions seem not to be limited by the natural principles under which we live?

Earlier I asked if prayer actually works, and said I have a tentative hypothesis with regard to what people truly believe about this. In the conscious mind, those infected with religious fervor are fully confident that their prayers are heard, and occasionally answered. In the subconscious, people realize that prayer suffers from the ultimate limit: It is bounded by what is possible through natural means, and pure chance. Essentially automatically and unbeknownst to them, people filter out the impossible requests and amass those that might be able to reinforce the illusion of prayer’s efficacy. A man prays that he gets a job, so he can support his family. A woman prays that her father recovers from a serious illness. Parents pray that their baby is born healthy. A community prays that an approaching storm does not wreak havoc. These are good things for which to pray; nature can do the job where God does not exist.

My dwindling religious readers might object at this point: “God can do anything, and my prayers are not limited to the mundane! Nothing is impossible for God and, thus, prayer potentially is capable of delivering any desired result!” OK, although this is a metaphysical proposition, it certainly could be tested by scientific means. Gather up Robertson, Perkins, Huckabee and 200-some other fundamentalist Christofascists and put them on an airplane. At 38,000 feet, the pilot and co-pilot will dive into the sky, with only parachutes potentially to save their lives. Autopilot will not be turned on at any point. Precisely three minutes before that happens, every fundamentalist theocrat onboard the flight will begin to pray for the plane’s safe landing and every passenger’s survival. The prayer will continue until one minute after the pilots dive out. If God’s hands guide the aircraft to a safe and smooth landing, prayer’s efficacy will be proved. If the plane crashes, prayer will be disproved. I wonder if Imam Robertson’s confidence in prayer reaches that level....

My guess would be no, considering prayer already has been tested scientifically. The Harvard Medical School Office of Public Affairs issued a news release entitled "Largest Study of Third-Party Prayer Suggests Such Prayer Not Effective In Reducing Complications Following Heart Surgery" on March 31, 2006. See selected passages below:

“For those facing surgery or battling disease, the prayers of others can be a comfort. Researchers in the Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP), the largest study to examine the effects of intercessory prayerprayer provided by othersevaluated the impact of such prayer on patients recovering from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

“The STEP team, composed of investigators at six academic medical centers, including Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts; Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota; St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Florida; Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C; and the Mind/Body Medical Institute, found that intercessory prayer had no effect on recovery from surgery without complications. The study also found that patients who knew they were receiving intercessory prayer fared worse. The paper appears in the April issue of American Heart Journal.”

...

“STEP investigators enrolled 1,802 bypass surgery patients from six hospitals and randomly assigned each to one of three groups: 604 patients received intercessory prayer after being informed they may or may not receive prayers (Group 1); 597 patients did not receive prayer after being informed they may or may not receive prayer (Group 2); and 601 patients received intercessory prayer after being informed they would receive it (Group 3).

“Caregivers and independent auditors comparing case reports to medical records were unaware of the patients' assignments throughout the study. The study enlisted members of three Christian groups, two Catholic and one Protestant, to provide prayer throughout the multi-year study.

“Some patients were told they may or may not receive intercessory prayer: complications occurred in 52 percent of those who received prayer (Group 1) versus 51 percent of those who did not receive prayer (Group 2). Complications occurred in 59 percent of patients who were told they would receive prayer (Group 3) versus 52 percent, who also received prayer, but were uncertain of receiving it (Group 1). Major complications and thirty-day mortality were similar across the three groups.”

Now, granted, this study explicitly was limited to intercessory prayer. However, I think it is reasonable to draw a powerful overall conclusion: Prayer is nothing more than a (wildly inconsistent) form of the placebo effect. It provides some measure of comfort to the desperate...but simply cannot supersede natural scientific principles.

31 Comments:

Blogger Tommy said...

I suspect a Christian's response would be something along the lines of it does not matter if the prayer is granted because the very act of prayer itself is a demonstration of respect for God.

8:42 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard of that study before. Of course, believers will invoke a rationale similar to Michael Palin's in "Every Sperm is Sacred": God can see through that cheap deception, etc. Why, you see, he KNOWS he's being studies and is only playing coy. Your other observation, that people really only pray for naturalistic possibles, is more damning (forgive pun). Your hypothesis that subconsciously people know their prayers won't be answered is an interesting one. This could be generalized to a fairly powerful argument that deep down people know God doesn't exist.

In my life I've been plagued by certain neurotic troubles with anxiety: eg. fears of dangers that don't exist. Yet, I've always noticed that in dream I am completely calm, as if subconsciously I know that in reality no dangers exist. I wonder if a similar process is a work in religious beliefs.

3:31 AM EST  
Anonymous pgc1981 said...

Jolly,

totally off the subject here, but what do you think about ABC Evening news passing NBC Nightly News? Is america getting sick of NBC's far left rhetoric and BS? I think so.

11:23 PM EST  
Anonymous pgc1981 said...

pass them in ratings. sorry forgot to add that

11:24 PM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

I think the trend probably has a lot to do with FOX News mobilizing the conservative crowd and rallying anti-NBC fervor. When you say phrases like "far-left," you betray that you listen to Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and other FOX News activists.

O'Reilly, in particular, is a complete phony. He claims to call things right down the middle, but he's about as obviously right-wing as one could get. He rails against the "far-left" but never utters the phrase "far-right." He lambasts Al Franken, yet invites blithering idiots like Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin onto his show as guests. No spin, indeed.

FOX News is such a television toilet. I saw its new promo, where the text says something like, "America has problems...but America is not the problem." What jingoistic bullshit. America is a country, like any other. Sometimes we act morally, and sometimes we act immorally. Sometimes we deserve to win, and sometimes we deserve to lose.

We are NOT the benevolent Lancelot, slaying dragons around the world. Rather, we're just a country--pushing other people around and telling autonomous states what to do. Ba humbug.

12:37 AM EST  
Blogger ShadowofGod said...

Most masterful use of Ba humbug ever. Nice article. You should submit it on digg and reddit and such.

3:33 PM EST  
Anonymous pgc1981 said...

Jolly,

I say abc news has passed nbc news in ratings and you end up on fox news. How did you come to that?
No where in my question did I mention fox news, bill o'reilly, sean hannity or any of the sort. I just posted a fact and wondered what you opinion was about abc passing nbc in the ratings.

nbc is extremely negative and liberal far left if you don't want to except that fact that's your right, but it's the truth. The comments Arkin made last week were completely bogus and backed by nbc. They employ people like Olbermann who is a complete idiot and a far left liberal. Now I don't agree the far right BS either. I do think fox news is much better and i think their ratings speak for that as far as cable news goes and o'reilly is one of the top 3 or 4 people in all of media tv according to an article i saw two or three weeks ago. I think ophra was first not sure who else was up their other than o'reilly and leno and letterman. (i think o'reily was ahead of both) My point is, you many not like o'reilly but he is extremely popular and has very good ratings, the facts speak for themselves

3:51 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, first time reading your blog, first time post of course, not writing as a critic nor to argue. I appreciate you writing your thoughts and beliefs and posting them for us all, and for yourself. The internet rocks.

I don't pray for airplanes to stay on course or in the air, nor for other impossibilities, though I do perhaps - probably - pray for things irrationally, time to time. What I do pray for mostly is peace, not so much for peace in Iraq or Poland or Rochester NY as for peace in my day, or in my night, peace in my heart, peace in my life. And it does tend to bring me peace, sometimes, not all the time but sometimes, and if/when I start my day asking for guidance through the day, it surely does seem that my day moves a lot easier. Though I don't think prayer for peace in Iraq or wherever is a bad thing, and maybe I'll do it after responding here.

Though I pray and do have a belief in some sort of ... something ... I don't have any judgment about others beliefs, at least not until they impinge on anyone else and/or bring anyone else harm. One of my favorite radio shows when I lived in Houston was The Atheist Hour on KPFT, I found the people associated with that show intelligent, caring, articulate, compassionate, decent. It seemed to me that many were not so much atheists as really angry agnostics maybe, not certain about if there was or is some sort of creative intelligence but really angry at religion, and about religion, their experiences with arrogant religious people who thought they had 'The Way' or some such. I was hurt real bad by stupid Christians, came up in a family that jammed that garbage down my throat, I must do it this way or roast in hell, blah blah blah. It turned me against god; looking back, I wish it'd just turned me against religion, which is I guess my current stance; pro whatever-the-hell-god-is / anti religion.

If I were to pray for peace in Iraq, I'd have to be praying for the Bush dynasty, and Wolfowitz, and Cheney, and all the other pieces of shit who've set up and are running the insane war machine, the mass murderers who are currently running our country, and all those in league with them; I doubt that such prayers will stop a white phosphoresce bomb from exploding and killing all human beings within three blocks in Kabul or Tikrit, I doubt that it'll stop the flow of cash into Haliburton et all. My prayers for them will maybe help me not to hate them, to see them clearly for what they are but not to allow them foothold in my heart through undirected and/or unfocused anger...

Bah - I'm going on. A bad habit. I intended to say hi and said a lot more. I hope you are well, enjoying the day. Maybe someday we can have a sane government, maybe someday the terrorists running our country will be held to account, maybe that ought to be my prayer. It can't hurt.

5:22 PM EST  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Prayer is wishful thinking expressed in a ritualised manner.

That's my thought on it.

9:11 PM EST  
Blogger pgc1981 said...

Anonymous,

"If I were to pray for peace in Iraq, I'd have to be praying for the Bush dynasty, and Wolfowitz, and Cheney, and all the other pieces of shit who've set up and are running the insane war machine, the mass murderers who are currently running our country, and all those in league with them;"

And Saddam was a saint? Things have not got smoothly and probably could have been done differently, easy to say after the fact. You may not agree with the war and not like the Bush administration, that's your right. They are not mass murderers however, look at who's doing most of the killing. Suicide bombers are killing most of the people. The US military is killing the crazy little psycho bomb strappers, not the civilians. If we didn't engage on Saddam he would still be killing his own people, cutting their tongues out and watching them drowned in their own blood. I read an article about the mass burial sites in Iraq and the number was well over 300,000, all by Saddam. I know that the liberal media claims that 600,000 some lives have been killed in Iraq since the war began, but if that's true than why does the UN have a figure of 115,000? That numbers was talked about on fox news and is quiet a big difference. And don’t give me this garbage that fox news is garbage because that’s not true.

The people you should be mad at as well are those liberal democrats who got voted into office last November to end the war. Their whole claim was that they were going to stop the war. And here we are today, non-binding BS from them and no balls to follow through on what they promised the American people during their campaign. The fact is those liberals won't end the war, because if they did and we packed up ship, and millions were killed, people would blame the US for the deaths and the liberals don't want to be responsible for that. They also won't end the war because they want to use the war as a campaign tool for the 2008 elections, if it fails they will say 'see i told you so,' and if it succeeds they will say 'see we gave it a chance by not ending it'. If they wanted to they could cut funding and end the war, so why don’t they? The bottom line is they are playing politics and politics don't win wars only lose them and they know that. Even little Miss Clinton was behind the war back to 2002 and was really excited a year and a half later when the US got Saddam, but the polls went south along with her support and the support of the dems because of those polls. The only thing the dems care about is those stupid public opinion polls and gaining power. You can’t put all the blame on Bush for bad intelligence on Iraq. If the intelligence was bad blame the CIA or UN or the other countries that said saddam had WMD’s. The fact is Saddam broke international law giving the US the right to remove him from power, regardless of the WMD’s. I’m sick of people like hillary, and obama and kennedy who are just playing politics and saying what the American people want. We are at war and we need to finish the job whether we as a nation like it or not. Yes the world would be a lot better off without the war and with peace, but until all those bomb strapping jihad muslim’s are gone we won’t have peace. If we leave, millions die and they follow us back to America. The sooner you understand that they hate America and want to destroy us the better off we will be because we need to engage and take care of these people who try to rob peace from America and the rest of the world, including Iraq

Rudy ’08 campaign!!!

12:42 PM EST  
Blogger Jennifer said...

The site Why Won't God Heal Amputees was the final straw that broke Christianity's back for me. The scales fell from my eyes in that moment. Good blog here. Thanks.

4:17 PM EST  
Blogger Woozie said...

Great article, agree 100%. I also liked your reply to pcg1981's first comment, Jolly.

10:26 AM EST  
Anonymous pgc1981 said...

This is a paragraph from and article on at&t yahoo news friday afternoon about the democrats nonbinding issue. This paragraph states that 3,100 US Soldiers have died and tens of thousands of Iraqi's. So my question is where did the 600,000 that liberals say have died in Iraq come from. I think I specifically heard Surandon, or Robbins say it a few weeks ago when they were playing with all the anti war people in DC and I've heard it time and again from liberal anti war people on foxnews. So where does that number come from?

from AT&T Yahoo News
[U.S.-led troops made quick work of his regime but soon found themselves targeted in a country where long-suppressed sectarian rivalries flared and outside forces rushed to intervene. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died in the ensuing war, along with more than 3,100 U.S. troops.]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070216/ap_on_go_co/us_iraq

6:23 PM EST  
Blogger Sacred Slut said...

The placebo effect is underrated, IMO.

I think the good that it does is largely a matter of inspiring a positive outlook in some people. And an optimistic outlook has been shown to affect outcome - see Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman.

Similarly, people are uplifted by praise-type prayers.

None of these things prove there's anyone on the other end of the line, however.

6:31 PM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

According to the Iraq Body Count website (http://iraqbodycount.net/), about 60,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have died because of Bush's war. Add in US soldier deaths and insurgent deaths, and you probably are approaching 100,000 total deaths so far. Bush has to live with that, every day for the rest of his life.

He invaded Iraq--under totally false pretenses--and since has occupied it.

He has shifted justifications for the war, starting with non-existent WMD, then non-existent ties to 9/11, then "spreading freedom," then speaking of some invisible "obligation" we have to the country.

My strategy is simple: Retreat and defeat.

7:00 PM EST  
Anonymous pgc1981 said...

so where would people have pulled that 600,000 figure from? Unless they saw 60,000 and added a zero just to make it look worse.

The war isn't unjustifiable. If I'm not mistaking Saddam violated 17 international laws, but for some reason people don't want to realize that Bush and Blair were justifiable for going in, maybe they should have gotten UN backing but they still had good reason.

The WMD thing looks like it turned out to be bad intell, you can't put all that on Bush, he wasn't the only person in that boat and for some reason he's the only one getting suck in the boat.

Losing is not an option if we retreat mass killings and even more violence will spread and the possibility of them following us back to the US is good. If you don't believe that then you haven't been listening to what Iran's president has been saying.
I agree the war sucks it would be better if it never happened outside of removing Saddam. It's always easy to make those judgements after the fact. But the fact is we are their and we need to finish, not just walk away.

9:00 PM EST  
Blogger Tommy said...

Though I was opposed to the Iraq War while it was still in the preparation stage back in the autumn of 2002, I still find the 650,000 deaths figure hard to swallow. 150,000 sounds plausible to me. This does not include just civilians killed from bombs, guns and such, but also people who died in hospitals because of lack of medical supplies, or the power went out, diseases contracted from drinking unsanitary water and such.

And PGC, what saddens me is that even though I am an atheist, I respect freedom of religious belief and it is a terrible barometer of how bad things are in Iraq that its Christian population, which dates back to some 1,800 years, is fleeing the country in droves. It's funny that you hardly ever hear a peep out of the right wing Christian hawks about this.

If the Bush administration had more international backing and the ability to put more boots on the ground in the early stages of the conflict, I would have been more amenable to the invasion. As such, the administration's plan, to put it bluntly, sucked, and they have really made a mess in Mesopotamia.

I also never bought into the Iraq as terrorist flypaper theory. Granted, some Islamic terrorists go there, and for some, it is also a way of earning their spurs to impress the folks back home. But it should be obvious that any disciplined terrorist organization is going to make goal number one carrying out a mass casualty incident inside the United States. Our military presence in Iraq certainly is not an obstacle to such an incident.

11:19 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 600K figure is from a Lancet study that employed fairly thorough census data. It was similar to an epidemiological study that would determine death counts from a plague or disease, except in this case the disease was war.

It's always funny (no scrap that, sick) to hear rightists laughing at the left for having bought the lies that brought us this war, and then make fun of their difficulty in stopping it. It reminds me of a taunting schoolyard bully: "Look how they actually believed cooked info and voted for the war...and see how stupid and ineffectual they are trying to do anything, HA HA HA!" Pretty sadistic. Hey bud, you're laughing at dying people.

4:20 AM EST  
Anonymous pgc1981 said...

Anonymous,

that's just your opinion and you have that right, but the 600k figure is bogus as I stated from the article from Yahoo News. Like Jolly said the figure is probably close to 60,000. If the 600k number is right then where are all the bodies? Where are the grave sites? It's a bogus number, that's fact. I will say 60,000 is too high, but we can't change history can we?

What lies are you talking about that the left bought into? The fact that Saddam is gone is a good thing, the guy butchered his own people. The WMD thing was cleared up and admitted. He still was trying to produce them and it was himself that missled the UN and egged the US on to attack. It's almost like he wanted war to begin with. Maybe you missed my statemane about Hillary, who was totally behind the war to begin with, extremely happy when Saddam was captured and stated that she was behind it from the beginning and when the opinion polls dove south so did her support. The fact is the war hasn't gone great since the capture of Saddam, we are still their fighting and we need to finish the job 100%, not pack up, go home and leave the rest to get killed when the bad guys come in.

Tommy,

I think anyone with a right mind would flee Iraq right now. I know I would so who cares if Christians are fleeing the courntry or not, Muslims are fleeing as well, big deal they are smart for leaving.

Your right Bush's approaches haven't worked well to this point following the capture of Saddam. I don't know if you noticed but he has admitted that fact, not that really matters. Things never go perfectly in war. I bet at some point things looked grim for the US in WWII, say like the battle of the bulge. Like I said before it's always easy to look back and say what we should have done or didn't do, that's what mistakes teach us. Give him a chance because it seems like things are getting better. He learned from past mistakes and has made adjustments and this time plans to finish it right.

The death toll I think the UN had was something like 115k, but according to the news link I posted even that's too high.

8:38 PM EST  
Blogger Tommy said...

The reason I bring up the Iraqi Christians PGC is because the neocon chickenhawks are always complaining that the news only focuses on the bad news in Iraq and not the good news. But for me, Iraqi Christians are like the canary in a coal mine. If they are leaving Iraq because it is more dangerous for them now than under Saddam Hussein's regime, then that should tell you how conditions really are over there.

9:23 PM EST  
Blogger Lui said...

“The WMD thing looks like it turned out to be bad intell, you can't put all that on Bush, he wasn't the only person in that boat and for some reason he's the only one getting suck in the boat.”

Here in Australia, John Howard has been grilled on “The 7:30 Report” for the Iraq blunder. I’ll bet that in Britain, Tony Blair has also copped flak for his role. The war could cost all three their political future.”

The CIA warned that an invasion would produce more terrorists, and that it would destabilise the region. This is a mess of the Bush administration’s doing.

“If the Bush administration had more international backing and the ability to put more boots on the ground in the early stages of the conflict, I would have been more amenable to the invasion. As such, the administration's plan, to put it bluntly, sucked, and they have really made a mess in Mesopotamia.”

But Tommy, that presupposes that the US had “good intentions”. The invasion was based on a lie, and the lie wasn’t propagated for the sake of the Iraqi people, it was propagated for the sake of US economic and strategic interests. It was an imperialist war, and the opposition to it from Democrats is hypocritical because they seem to be against it only because of its incompetent execution. The United States does not have the legal or moral right to invade other countries, no matter how well executed the subsequent occupation.

“that's just your opinion and you have that right, but the 600k figure is bogus as I stated from the article from Yahoo News. Like Jolly said the figure is probably close to 60,000. If the 600k number is right then where are all the bodies? Where are the grave sites? It's a bogus number, that's fact. I will say 60,000 is too high, but we can't change history can we?”

No, it’s not “fact”. The methodology used by the Lancet was the same methodology used by the UN to estimate death rates in the Congo, and no one had a problem there. It smacks of hypocrisy for the neo-cons and the Bush administration to dispute these numbers when, by the Pentagon’s own admission, “we don’t do body counts”. And all the lying and deception used the Bush administration pretty much disqualifies them from talking about “facts”.

“He learned from past mistakes and has made adjustments and this time plans to finish it right.”

So you’re saying that Iran won’t be attacked?

“The death toll I think the UN had was something like 115k, but according to the news link I posted even that's too high.”

Of course it is; it “has to be”, because that wouldn’t be good for Bush.

9:24 PM EST  
Blogger Tommy said...

Lui, I wrote more amenable. Perhaps I should have been clearer. What I meant was that even though I was against the invasion, if they went in with more boots on the ground and more international support so that there would not be all the chaos and bloodshed, that would at least be preferable than what has been going on there for the last four years.

10:01 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tommy, you can blame Rumsfeld for the lack of "boots on the ground". He bought into the idea of limited ground war and heavy reliance on air strikes, bombing, etc. There's some bullshit military name for it, I can't remember. None of the "crazies" seemed to even have a concept of post-victory "pacification," they were too enamored with visions of flower-strewn liberation parades -- I think they were smoking ganga in Cheney's office or something.

pcg1981: google "Downing Street memos" and "Niger yellow cake", "joseph wilson", and "valerie plame", "Scooter libby" -- you've got some reading to do, dude.
"Fix the facts around the policy" Ring a bell?

The Iraq war was being plotted long before 9/11 -- probably ever since daddy pulled back on the reigns in '91.

4:15 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as I'm concerned, the issue of the Iraq War begins and ends with the fictional intelligence that got us there. The US invaded a sovereign country on false pretenses. That's unforgivable, bottom line.

Just imagine if the US invaded Australia, and then, when it turned out our justification was fictitious, we expected to still be the moral leader of the world. We have lost ALL moral credibility by provoking a war for false reasons.

And, when it comes to UN resolutions, Israel is in violation of more than any other country. So I guess Israel is our next target for unjustified invasion.

2:01 PM EST  
Anonymous pgc1981 said...

Have we all missed my point that it's fact that Saddam violated 17 international laws to give us authority to go in. Yes, Bush used other reasons to convince americans and congress and yes some of them turned out to be bad intell, but fact is Saddam broke international law.

The war sucks and we would be much better off without it, but we can't change history, we can learn from history and do things right, finish the job and come home.

Tommy your right more troops in the first place probably would have prevented all this in the first place, I agree. But don't you also agree that if we leave devestating things will happen to the Iraqis? If we leave millions could die, Iran could attempt to take control and the entire world would blame the US and Bush. If we want to avoid a really bad foreign policy blunder we should stay and finish the job and not let the democrats get us out till the job is finished. If we leave now that would be the absolute worse decision ever made in my opinion.

Lui,
I gave a viable source, yahoo news, who said the body count is no where near 600k. If you believe that many are dead you are believing some bad reports from someone. 60,000 is more accurate but still too high.

Anonymous
what has Isreal violated? and are you talking the Jews or the Palistinians? If you are talking the Palistinians I probably would agree with you.

"pcg1981: google "Downing Street memos" and "Niger yellow cake", "joseph wilson", and "valerie plame", "Scooter libby" -- you've got some reading to do, dude.
"Fix the facts around the policy" Ring a bell?"

if it looks reliable I'll read it if not I won't waste any time. One thing you have to remember anything produced by the media is going to be bias against Bush and the war so they sugar coat things to make it in their favor. Just look at NBC news, they are a perfect example of that.

1:39 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A list of UN Resolutions against Israel:

1955-1992:

* Resolution 106: ". . . 'condemns' Israel for Gaza raid"

* Resolution 111: ". . . 'condemns' Israel for raid on Syria that killed fifty-six people"

* Resolution 127: ". . . 'recommends' Israel suspend its 'no-man's zone' in Jerusalem"

* Resolution 162: ". . . 'urges' Israel to comply with UN decisions"

* Resolution 171: ". . . determines flagrant violations' by Israel in its attack on Syria"

* Resolution 228: ". . . 'censures' Israel for its attack on Samu in the West Bank, then under Jordanian control"

* Resolution 237: ". . . 'urges' Israel to allow return of new 1967 Palestinian refugees"

* Resolution 248: ". . . 'condemns' Israel for its massive attack on Karameh in Jordan"

* Resolution 250: ". . . 'calls' on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem"

* Resolution 251: ". . . 'deeply deplores' Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250"

* Resolution 252: ". . . 'declares invalid' Israel's acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish capital"

* Resolution 256: ". . . 'condemns' Israeli raids on Jordan as 'flagrant violation""

* Resolution 259: ". . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to accept UN mission to probe occupation"

* Resolution 262: ". . . 'condemns' Israel for attack on Beirut airport"

* Resolution 265: ". . . 'condemns' Israel for air attacks for Salt in Jordan"

* Resolution 267: ". . . 'censures' Israel for administrative acts to change the status of Jerusalem"

* Resolution 270: ". . . 'condemns' Israel for air attacks on villages in southern Lebanon" * Resolution 271: ". . . 'condemns' Israel's failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem"

* Resolution 279: ". . . 'demands' withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon"

* Resolution 280: ". . . 'condemns' Israeli's attacks against Lebanon"

* Resolution 285: ". . . 'demands' immediate Israeli withdrawal form Lebanon"

* Resolution 298: ". . . 'deplores' Israel's changing of the status of Jerusalem"

* Resolution 313: ". . . 'demands' that Israel stop attacks against Lebanon"

* Resolution 316: ". . . 'condemns' Israel for repeated attacks on Lebanon"

* Resolution 317: ". . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to release Arabs abducted in Lebanon"

* Resolution 332: ". . . 'condemns' Israel's repeated attacks against Lebanon"

* Resolution 337: ". . . 'condemns' Israel for violating Lebanon's sovereignty"

* Resolution 347: ". . . 'condemns' Israeli attacks on Lebanon"

* Resolution 425: ". . . 'calls' on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon"

* Resolution 427: ". . . 'calls' on Israel to complete its withdrawal from Lebanon'

* Resolution 444: ". . . 'deplores' Israel's lack of cooperation with UN peacekeeping forces"

* Resolution 446: ". . . 'determines' that Israeli settlements are a 'serious obstruction' to peace and calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention"

* Resolution 450: ". . . 'calls' on Israel to stop attacking Lebanon"

* Resolution 452: ". . . 'calls' on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territories"

* Resolution 465: ". . . 'deplores' Israel's settlements and asks all member states not to assist Israel's settlements program"

* Resolution 467: ". . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's military intervention in Lebanon"

* Resolution 468: ". . . 'calls' on Israel to rescind illegal expulsions of two Palestinian mayors and a judge and to facilitate their return"

* Resolution 469: ". . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's failure to observe the council's order not to deport Palestinians"

* Resolution 471: ". . . 'expresses deep concern' at Israel's failure to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention"

* Resolution 476: ". . . 'reiterates' that Israel's claim to Jerusalem are 'null and void'"

* Resolution 478: ". . . 'censures (Israel) in the strongest terms' for its claim to Jerusalem in its 'Basic Law'"

* Resolution 484: ". . . 'declares it imperative' that Israel re-admit two deported Palestinian mayors"

* Resolution 487: ". . . 'strongly condemns' Israel for its attack on Iraq's nuclear facility"

* Resolution 497: ". . . 'decides' that Israel's annexation of Syria's Golan Heights is 'null and void' and demands that Israel rescinds its decision forthwith"

* Resolution 498: ". . . 'calls' on Israel to withdraw from Lebanon"

* Resolution 501: ". . . 'calls' on Israel to stop attacks against Lebanon and withdraw its troops"

* Resolution 509: ". . . 'demands' that Israel withdraw its forces forthwith and unconditionally from Lebanon"

* Resolution 515: ". . . 'demands' that Israel lift its siege of Beirut and allow food supplies to be brought in"

* Resolution 517: ". . . 'censures' Israel for failing to obey UN resolutions and demands that Israel withdraw its forces from Lebanon"

* Resolution 518: ". . . 'demands' that Israel cooperate fully with UN forces in Lebanon"

* Resolution 520: ". . . 'condemns' Israel's attack into West Beirut"

* Resolution 573: ". . . 'condemns' Israel 'vigorously' for bombing Tunisia in attack on PLO headquarters

* Resolution 587: ". . . 'takes note' of previous calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon and urges all parties to withdraw"

* Resolution 592: ". . . 'strongly deplores' the killing of Palestinian students at Bir Zeit University by Israeli troops"

* Resolution 605: ". . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's policies and practices denying the human rights of Palestinians

* Resolution 607: ". . . 'calls' on Israel not to deport Palestinians and strongly requests it to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention

* Resolution 608: ". . . 'deeply regrets' that Israel has defied the United Nations and deported Palestinian civilians"

* Resolution 636: ". . . 'deeply regrets' Israeli deportation of Palestinian civilians

* Resolution 641: ". . . 'deplores' Israel's continuing deportation of Palestinians

* Resolution 672: ". . . 'condemns' Israel for violence against Palestinians at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount

* Resolution 673: ". . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to cooperate with the United Nations

* Resolution 681: ". . . 'deplores' Israel's resumption of the deportation of Palestinians

* Resolution 694: ". . . 'deplores' Israel's deportation of Palestinians and calls on it to ensure their safe and immediate return

* Resolution 726: ". . . 'strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of Palestinians

* Resolution 799: ". . . 'strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of 413 Palestinians and calls for their immediate return.

(taken from the above-mentioned title, pages 188 - 192)

THE FOLLOWING ARE THE RESOLUTIONS VETOED BY THE UNITED STATES DURING THE PERIOD OF SEPTEMBER, 1972, TO MAY, 1990 TO PROTECT ISRAEL FROM COUNCIL CRITICISM:

* . . . condemned Israel's attack against Southern Lebanon and Syria..."

* . . . affirmed the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, statehood and equal protections. . . "

* . . . condemned Israel's air strikes and attacks in southern Lebanon and its murder of innocent civilians. . . "

* . . . called for self-determination of Palestinian people. . . "

* . . deplored Israel's altering of the status of Jerusalem, which is recognized as an international city by most world nations and the United Nations . . . "

* . . . affirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people . . . "

* . . . endorsed self-determination for the Palestinian people . . . "

* . . . demanded Israel's withdrawal from the Golan Heights . . . "

* . . . condemned Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and its refusal to abide by the Geneva convention protocols of civilized nations.

* . . . condemned an Israeli soldier who shot eleven Moslem worshippers at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount near Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. . . "

* . . . urged sanctions against Israel if it did not withdraw from its invasion of Lebanon ... "

* . . . urged sanctions against Israel if it did not withdraw from its invasion of Beirut. . . "

* . . . urged cutoff of economic aid to Israel if it refused to withdraw from its occupation of Lebanon. . . "

* . . . condemned continued Israeli settlements in occupied territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, denouncing them as an obstacle to peace. . . "

* . . . deplores Israel's brutal massacre of Arabs in Lebanon and urges its withdrawal. . . "

* . . . condemned Israeli brutality in southern Lebanon and denounced the Israeli 'Iron Fist' policy of repression. . . "

* . . . denounced Israel's violation of human rights in the occupied territories. . . "

* . . . deplored Israel's violence in southern Lebanon. . . "

* . . . deplored Israel's activities in occupied Arab East Jerusalem that threatened the sanctity of Muslim holy sites. . . "

* . . . condemned Israel's hijacking of a Libyan passenger airplane. . . "

* . . . deplored Israel's attacks against Lebanon and its measures and practices against the civilian population of Lebanon. . . "

* . . . called on Israel to abandon its policies against the Palestinian intifada that violated the rights of occupied Palestinians, to abide by the Fourth Geneva Conventions, and to formalize a leading role for the United Nations in future peace negotiations. . . "

* . . . urged Israel to accept back deported Palestinians, condemned Israel's shooting of civilians, called on Israel to uphold the Fourth Geneva Convention, and called for a peace settlement under UN auspices. . . "

* . . . condemned Israel's . . incursion into Lebanon. . . "

* . . . deplored Israel's . . . commando raids on Lebanon. . . "

* . . . deplored Israel's repression of the Palestinian intifada and called on Israel to respect the human rights of the Palestinians. . . "

* . . . deplored Israel's violation of the human rights of the Palestinians. . . "

* . . . demanded that Israel return property confiscated from Palestinians during a tax protest and allow a fact-finding mission to observe Israel's crackdown on the Palestinian intifada . . . "

* . . . called for a fact-finding mission on abuses against Palestinians in Israeli-occupied lands. . . "

1:50 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe already said, but, hello, christians already have your argument covered - remember, we're not allowed to test the lord!... not sure which passage it is off hand, but remember - jesus didn't jump off the building when satan asked him to, cause testing god is a sin! therefore, any act of measuring the efficacy of prayer is a sin, and christians wouldn't expect it to yield anything.

3:36 AM EDT  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

If prayer cannot be tested objectively, then it’s simply not worth my time even to discuss it. Hypotheses which cannot be falsified are utterly worthless.

It seems Christians built a loophole into their concept so as to prevent revealing it as a fraud.

Case closed.

12:44 PM EDT  
Anonymous i.m.small said...

HE PRAYS FOR DAMNATION

Father, I pray, each man and woman
Unto the last of progeny
Be damned, if--in its "O so human"
Nonchalance--heeds cacophony

Of manufactured hype that pushes
My country to attack Iran
Unwarranted: for war-lust rushes
Spare not a woman or a man.

Lord, if this people, one more time
Allows the war machine, as is
Purposefully perverted--I´m
Then overjoyed to pray for this:

Damn all this people to the last
Of its false unregenerate seed
If it makes war: pray, Father, cast
The lot to hell for all its greed.

If, rather than repenting of
Its hellish folly in Iraq,
It now attacks Iran, by Jove
Let there not be the least mistake:

Heavenly Lord, please from the map
Do wipe these false aggressors clean,
For war is worse than mere mishap,
Damnation worse than kerosene.

Father, I pray, each man and woman
Unto the last of progeny,
Thou shalt destroy, with more than human
Misanthropy, misogyny.

12:14 PM EST  
Blogger Sydney Kaye said...

What was the point of listing UN resolutions against Israel

To prove that the Zune General Assembly and its committees are based against Israel and are anti -Semites.
Isn't that common knowledge.

9:41 AM EDT  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

One need not be anti-Semitic to oppose the rogue, provocative actions of Israel's government.

6:55 PM EDT  

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