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Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In defense of secular humanism. (not really)
I’m getting a little tired of hearing about miracles lately. And I’d like to share two particularly egregious uses of this term lately that really irked me in this regard.
The first one was a story that we heard this past weekend. We were hanging around with some conservative, religious friends of ours. (Nothing extreme mind you, they’re good people and a great family with wonderful kids – just decidedly conservative and definitely religious.) ANYWAY, they were telling us a story about a friend of theirs who’s child recently had a heart transplant. Now, we’re talking about a YOUNG CHILD here – 8 or 9 years old? He’s on their son’s baseball team. Last year he couldn’t even run the bases due to his heart problems. (They let him hit, but let someone else pinch run for him.) And just recently, after the transplant, and after the recovery, etc… he hits a home run and runs the bases by himself.
Now is that an AMAZING STORY? Yes. MOVING? Yes. Bring a grown man to tears? YES. And this kid met Tiger infielder Brandon Inge while he in the hospital, and Inge, after hitting a home run himself in a game for the kid himself, WAS brought to tears in the dugout. So it DID, in fact, bring a grown man to tears! Hey: It’s a truly inspiration story! To go from planning the kid’s funeral arrangements to watching him hit a home run a run the bases and living a good, strong, healthy life? It’s amazing. I’m still floored by it, even as I write this. But something she said has stuck in my craw every since: “You just don’t see miracles all that often.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve said many times that I respect people’s faith and this time was no different. I have no problem with people having FAITH, but in saying this was a MIRACLE, she was effectively crediting God with his survival. But the REAL reason this child is alive today is because DOCTORS went to school, DOCTORS learned how to perform this procedure, DOCTORS did research to develop the procedure, PATIENTS died when the procedure was still in it’s infancy… What I’m saying is, that MANY, MANY people hade HUGE sacrifices of their time, their money, their talent and in some case their very lives, in order to make this moment possible. That this child was even alive, let alone thriving, was an amazing HUMAN accomplishment. So please pardon me if I’m not bending over backwards to thank God for it. The only hand that God played, if any, was in giving that poor kid a bum ticker in the first place. If anything, HUMANS intervened to either defy God’s conscious will, or else fix what he failed to get right. To “thank god for the miracle” is to dismiss all the WORK and SACRIFICE that so many HUMANS did to make it happen.
Now… you might think that I’d be more accepting of the invocation of the word “miracle” as it relates to THIS STORY, about an 11 year old girl with Asberger’s Syndrome, lost for 4 days in a snake infested Florida swamp being found and rescued alive and well, save for some scratches and bug bites. And it was just dumb luck that the guy who found her even did so! So that was LUCKY. And it was LUCKY she wasn’t bitten by a snake. And it was LUCKY that she wasn’t eaten by an alligator. And it was LUCKY she didn’t fall and break her leg, or hit her head, or drown. And in [Obi-Wan’s] experience: There’s no such thing as LUCK. So why can’t I concede this one? With all that LUCK (or random chance working out in her favor) leading to her survival, why can’t I concede that God intervened? Why can’t I call this a MIRACLE?
Simple. Because in doing so I would have to conclude that God is evil.
How do I reach that judgment? Simple. Where was God a few months ago in Haiti? Where was God every time a child DOESN’T survive something? Where was God when my children were born with Autism? Where is God when all these children die as their idiot parents try PRAYING and FAITH HEALING in rejection of MODERN MEDICINE? Where was God back when our species’ infant mortality rate was 50% in the first year of life? Where was God’s guidance when the Church was deciding what to do with pedophile Priests? Where was God when my Grandfather died of esophageal cancer six months after retired, after busting his ass his whole life to provide for his family? Where was God two years ago when my very dear friend – a regular churchgoer, I might add - from a brain tumor? If that’s God’s work? FUCK God.
To credit God with ACTING in any one case, is to say the he consciously chose not to act in every other case. And if we accept this, I would find it very odd that God seems to favor us more and more as a species as MEDICAL SCIENCE improves, even as we become LESS RELIGIOUS. Does God just like babies more now than he did a century ago? Is a 0.1% (or whatever it is now) infant mortality rate do to GOD’S work – or HUMANITY’S? (I think the answer is there is obvious, and I’m going to punch you if you conclude otherwise!) Not only does God show seem to favor us more and more (sarcasm) as medical science improves, but he even seems to favor CONUTRIES these days that do more medical research, regardless of their native religion or level of belief. One’s faith, one’s religion, has nothing to do with it. Antibiotics don’t wok any better or any worse in Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindu’s, Buddhists or Atheists. And no group is any more or less likely to get a disease or survive a disaster. The only factors than make any difference all – modern infrastructure, medical science, civilized society, etc… – are all the result of purely HUMAN endeavor.
And what’s more, I see this all as a SERIOUS indictment of intelligent design as well. As I look around, as I learn (and realize) more about how both our species and our societies evolved, I can not help but reach the conclusion that this DID in fact all come about randomly. I can see and accept NO OTHER explanation. Between all the things that go wrong with our bodies and minds in terms of disease, all the peril we face from the natural world, and how we destroy each other with war and poison each other with pollution… I’m sorry but this is just not the work of an INTELLIGENT designer.
The “I” in ID, if anything, stands for INCOMPETENT.
If there IS a God, or some other form of DESIGNER, either he’s stupid, or he’s evil. No one would deliberately design such a weak, vulnerable, irrational species like ours, and put it a world as fraught with danger as this one, unless they were either C-Students, or Psychopaths.
And THAT’S why the above examples aren’t miracles. These kids didn’t survive BECAUSE of God’s work. If he’s up there at all, they survived despite his capriciousness and/or incompetence. (Evil or Stupid – take your pick.) Believing otherwise is no more than a comfortable delusion that dismisses the work of the flech and blood HUMAN BEINGS that REALLY made these “miracles” happen.