Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A New-To-Me-Blog I Love

Christian musicians: all the ass but none of the premature death of secular rockers

Do you have conversations about matters scientific where your interlocutor is obviously a complete moron, making points grounded in a place NPR journalist and author of The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America Ray Suarez recently called "the secure bunker of ignorance"? Do you wish you were more able to formulate your devastating reply in understandable yet authoritative scientific language, but like me you are nothing more than a gadfly generalist? Fear not, for there is Bad Science.

Written by Dr. Ben Goldacre, Bad Science is a handy digest of inane stories and theories with varying degrees of popular currency put to the test of the scientific method. While Goldacre acts as a solo aggregator, he doesn't claim omnipotence or infalibility. And for those of you eager to argue that Goldacre represents just one strain of opinion in a multifaceted world of ideas, I'd like to point out that so did Gallileo, Da Vinci, Newton, Faraday, Jenner, Pasteur, Curie, Rutherford, that troublesome Darwin, and so on. Not that Ben is in that group by any means, but when pooh-poohing science remember that without the methodology and peer review built up over the centuries we'd still believe that humans were made by God from clay after he had created the earth in 6 days about 6,000 years ago. Oh that's right, some of you do. After all, evidence is for Satanists.

My favorite story on Bad Science in recent weeks comes from the "Fictional Epidemiology" archives. Goldacre reports on a group of Christians who set out to prove Proverbs 10:27 ("The fear of the Lord prolongeth days, but the years of the wicked shall be shortened") by analyzing the age of rock stars at their death as compared to the general population. As Goldacre says in his post:

"I particularly enjoy the way they take the average age at death of the normal population, and compare that against the average age at death of… some rock stars who died young. Rock stars who die young do indeed, on average, die young."

Fantastic stuff. And speaking of context free science, apparently my grandparents, Tony Benn, and myself will live forever. Cor, I love my tea, I really do.


Anonymous said...

Proverbs 10:27 ("The fear of the Lord prolongeth days, but the years of the wicked shall be shortened")

You just can't take a verse out of context or you just can't take a verse and decide "Oh this means this" You have to look deeper.

The fear of the Lord would be reverance, reverence brings obedience, obedience to the Lord will be following His commandments, following His commandments will utimately bring quality of life which will make a person who fears God a person who lives longer.
Okay we know the commandments and face it breaking some of those can get a person killed or bring other destructive consequences.

Try not to look at the verse as condemnation but as advice for people who want to do good they will be blessed by it, their lives will be extended in a way.

Wicked people suck. What does wicked mean to you? Evil right? I can name a few evil people who didn't live too long, Hitler for one.

Anonymous said...

When I said "You" in my last comment I didn't mean youn personally but most people in general

weasel said...

Right on Ms. Dee, context is everything. Although I don't look at the verse as condemnation; I look on it as garbage. We control our own lives*, not some mythical deity. If you gobble handfuls of pills and struggle with the clap, there is a fair chance you might slip this mortal coil sooner rather than if you live on V8 and early nights.

But there are sound medical reasons for this that have nothing to do with "fear of the lord". "Wicked people suck". We need a bible to point that out? And they often live quite a long time: just look at Pol Pot, many of the Popes, Ian Paisley, Alfredo Stroessner, Mother Theresa, and that mean old fucker who walks his dog in Camden and doesn't have the time of day for anyone (can you tell when I'm being a little silly, folks?). Their wickedness, beyond the realms of mental illness, is not a medical condition and is not guaranteed to shorten their lives. And if your god is still in the smiting business, he's gotten pretty crap at it. He parted the Red Sea so Moses et al could escape back in the day, but couldn't intervene in the Holocaust? Hardly all-knowing, all-loving, all-wise is it?

I have to say I respect your grasp on your faith, and I really liked (even though I fundamentally disagree) your take on your personal faith you posted on 8/25. And I know that you are as exasperated by unthinking people as anybody. But I posted this not as an attack on christians or christianity, but as an attack on idiots.

(*And each others; cf. pollution, accidents caused by others, etc)

Anonymous said...

I didnt take it as an attack and I always enjoy your questions and are so interested in your point of view of God, The Bible and religion.

I'm right there with you on attacking idiots.

Many of your questions are my own as well,I'm going to blog about why I go on so much about things like this

I welcome your insight and perspective it gives me food for thought:)