Wednesday, 25 March 2009

When Praying for Miracles Becomes a Dangerous Game of Life and Death

From time to time, atheists are often reminded, often quite incessantly, about the benefits of prayer and why we atheists should not abandon religion wholesale. In addition, religious folks are quite quick to inform nonbelievers about the perceived frivolity of atheism, that if death comes a-knocking we atheists will start getting scared shitless and go to our kneels and beg for a whole bagful of miracles.

This kind of asinine arguments are quite baseless, especially since there isn't any god to answer your prayers to start with. But generally, prayers are harmless, the ones which border on little else but a bit of a intellectual masturbation: Prayer to win soccer matches, prayer to screw that hot brunette next door, and so on and so forth.

That said, not all prayers are harmless, and some of them can be essentially harmful and deadly, especially when it comes to emergency situations. For example, when the house is on fire, the last thing you want to do is go down on your knees and start praying to some imaginary sky deity who, if he exists, wouldn't have started a fire in the first place and then begin a game of dice to decide whether your body deserves to be barbecued to a fried crisp or save you later for midnight supper.

In a life-and-death situation, every second counts for something, sometimes everything: In the few seconds it takes for you to pray for your incompetent sky deity, a window of opportunity for escape may be lost for good. And if you think that your sky daddy can save your ass from a burning bush then woe to you, I will say.

In sum, prayer doesn't work, and if you'd face a emergency whereby you need to take urgent action to save someone else's life or yours, please, for fuck's sake, do not stop for a wing and a prayer!

Pilot who paused to pray in emergency gets 10 years

A Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before crash-landing his plane, killing 16 people, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court along with his co-pilot.

The 2005 crash at sea off Sicily left survivors swimming for their lives, some clinging to a piece of the fuselage that remained floating after the ATR turbo-prop aircraft splintered upon impact.

A fuel-gauge malfunction was partly to blame but prosecutors also said the pilot succumbed to panic, praying out loud instead of following emergency procedures and then opting to crash-land the plane instead trying to reach a nearby airport.

Another five employees of Tuninter, a subsidiary of Tunisair, were sentenced to between eight and nine years in jail by the court, in a verdict handed down yesterday.

The seven accused, who were not in court, will not spend time in jail until the appeals process has been exhausted.

Prayer Can Be Dangerous

"Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish."