Friday, June 15, 2007

pascal's wager and medicine

Back in my post called why do atheists keep harping at christians?

Verndigger has come back and answered some of our questions regarding his comment.

The summary of the situation is as follows:

Russ: ... it is immoral to be tight-lipped when a child is allowed to die from a routinely curable affliction because of its Christian Science parent's faith...

Verndigger: if it is just as immoral to be silent when that same child dies under care of the medical, IN SPITE of the 'routinely curable' cure.

Fiery Ewok: I think it would then depend on cause of death-
medical negligence- immoral
honest medical error- regretable
careless medical error- immoral

In response to my comment Verndigger has posed what seems to me to be Pascal's Wager concerning modern medicine.

Verndigger: ...would not the same criteria apply to other healing methods? such as various alternative methods, whether naturopath, homeopathy, or whatever healing method someone chooses ?...

Verndigger: ...CS'ers do not 'sit back and wait..', or 'refuse treatment', they are actively working for the healing, as I said before, in the way they know has worked for them and thousands of others, previously....

His comment was significantly longer than that and available if you follow the link above to the original post.

It seems to me that the difference is that modern medicine helps billions, where Christian Science, according to Verndigger, has helped thousands. Those aren't great odds when you are dealing with the life of a minor below the age of consent. For an adult to choose CS methods, it is just that- their choice. For a child to have imposed upon him or her, the parent's decision to use prayer and CS methods only or prior to medical care- that is immoral.


King Aardvark said...

Agreed. When you get back to it, choosing to follow CS methods that are unfounded and unproven are more careless than honest.

janice said...

I too agree, with both of you.

Verndigger said...

hmmm, hi again Fiery...
unfamiliar with Pascal's wager, I looked it up on Widipedia, where it says 'it is a better bet to believe in God than not...' - I agree with that, and don't really see how it applies to our discussion.

anyway, it is not the numbers who adhere to a particular method that is important, it seems to me; but the effectiveness of the method.
KA has not paid attention to what I said: CS'ers use CS because it is effective, it WORKS for them.
I would imagine millions of folks in China may use acupuncture to handle their physical problems, yet not so many do on this continent.
and if parents use a particular healing approach that they know is effective, would you have them - force them - to use a different method for their children? the method YOU think is best?

I accept you folks' belief in atheism, you have a perfect right to believe that way.
but try to sit back and think calmly and logically about this for a bit -
there are many healing methods available today, and surely in a democracy each one has the right to choose for himself/herself, the method that works best for them.
AND their children.
CS methods are NOT 'unfounded and unproven'.

Numbers 6:24-26 to y'all,


Fiery Ewok said...

Hi Verndigger

Pascal's Wager is a challenge that says you might as well believe in god- if he isn't real you lose nothing and if he is real you gain everything.

One of the main atheist contention with the wager is that if god is indeed all knowing he would see through your pseudo-belief and not be impressed by it.

To me, turning to CS medical methods is very similar. CS's believes modern medicine will hurt them in some way so they use their own methods for healing. CS methods can't hurt, they might help.

The various methods you have mentioned for healing: CS methods, acupuncture, various alternative methods, whether naturopath, homeopathy, or whatever healing method someone chooses- I have yet to hear of any of them standing up to a double-blind test and produce meaningful results.

Has CS methods ever been put to a double-blind test and produced repeatable, statistically significant results? Can they beat the placebo effect?

Modern medicine is tested time and again. Sometimes to ridiculous degrees before the FDA will release a new method of treatment.

Sean the Blogonaut said...

Vern, as an adult who can choose to do as you wish. But using prayer on a sick child where the only sensible treatment is through modern medicine is questionable. I also object to the labeling of Christian Science as if appending the "science" gives it a reasoned legitimacy.

But hey it is a democracy, and if my understanding is correct Christian Scientists will pray themselves out of existence. So horses for courses

And in reference to numbers -

Peace to you (see, no god necessary).

Crazyman Bob said...

It seems to me that this argument is made more confusing by the mixing of ethics and politics.

First of all, this (America) is not a democracy. A democracy is majority rule and the minority can just shut up and take it. Vern - In a democracy the numbers would be all that matters because the majority would make the decisions. Luckily for you, this is a Republic with a limited government. At least in form if not in fact.

Politically, you should have the right to choose whatever method you want for whatever reasons (or faith) you want. And while your children are still under age and your responsibility, you have the right to chose for them also. Politically.

As far as ethics goes, your choice is moral or immoral depending on your system of morality and can easily be moral for you and immoral for someone else.

And as far as our "belief" in atheism and our need to use logic... check your premises. Atheism is not a belief. Belief doesn't enter into it. There is no logical evidence of God. None. Zip. Logic and faith are opposites. Faith is accepting something based on feelings instead of evidence. Evidence is the province of logic and reason. Believing in a god and promoting logic is a contradiction. Use the logic you are exposing to look into your belief and you will soon join us in atheism if you are honest.

King Aardvark said...

Vern: they think it works for them. There's a big difference. Without showing that it works in a real double-blind study, they have no guarantee that any improvement is anything more than a coincidence or a placebo.