Thursday, November 8, 2007

Why We're Doomed



A catastrophic drought has gripped the American Southeast for months. Last I heard, the city of Atlanta was less than 90 days from running out of water.

I'll say that again: The city of Atlanta was less than 90 days from running out of water.

That means no other water. No "reserve" source that kicks in. No diverting the pipes from somewhere else. It means Atlanta is on track to experience a day when, like, millions of people would turn on their faucets and nothing comes out.

When I heard that Sonny Perdue, the governor of Georgia, was hosting a ritual to pray for rain, I was disturbed enough. Then when I clicked the AOL quick poll and found that 70 percent of respondents think this is a helpful thing to do, I just about put the pistol in my mouth.

That's it. We're done.

P.S. I've since realized that maybe Governor Perdue is doing this because he knows that the forecast calls for rain in a few days, so he can say, "See, God answered our call!" Yes, we're done.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh ye of little faith. If someone believes prayer helps, than it helps. We're not talking quantifiable cause and effect here. We're talking about how individuals choose to view their life circumstances, whether those circumstances are rife with hope our plagued by strife.

But since literal and exact definitions seem to exert the greatest influence with you, you might want to focus on the exact wording of the survey question, particularly the word "ease." It might explain at least part of that 70% that's got you so whopped up.

- Polyanna Screwyoo

Marc Conklin said...

Thank you for proving my point.

The wording is of the survey is "Do you think prayer can help ease the drought," not "Do you think prayer can help ease your anxiety about the drought."

People ARE claiming a cause and effect relationship. They're saying, or at least hoping--led by a publicly elected official (!)--that prayer can change the weather and end a drought.

That is, quite simply, insane. I'm sorry.

- Truthtelling UpYours

Marc Conklin said...

P.S. Although it's not as insane as this:

"If someone believes prayer helps, then it helps."

Mike said...

Thanks for (giving) me this nugget just days before I'm about soujourning to that Last Bastion of Belief, the American South. What's the recommended minimum dosage on antidepressants these days? Well, I'll need to double that upon return.

Because, you see, I'm not a prayin' man.

Marc Conklin said...

Mike:

Oh ye of little Prozac. Just believe that the trip will go fabulously, and it will! (Bring a copy of "The Secret" if you need a refresher.)

Anonymous said...

"People ARE claiming a cause and effect relationship." And you know this because you believe it to be true? Because I seriously doubt you took the time or effort to question the folks in the survey.

How people choose to interpret a survey question is, well, open to interpretation. It must be nice to know that you're reading of the results is THE correct interpretation above all others. It's exactly that sort of mental rigidity that you appear to be railing against so strenuously. The hypocrisy speaks for itself.

If someone is convinced the world is going to end then I have no doubt that, for them, it's true. When you arrive at your personal Armageddon please don't forget to blog.

- Polly

Vegas Gopher said...

Marc - Your a hypocrite. Why don't you take you're America-hating, God-bashing crap back to the Soviet Union wear you came from. Than I can get back to my Farmer's Almanac in piece. The won I got from joining the James Dobson fan club.

Sincerely,

Heywood Jagetafriggindictionary

Anonymous said...

Ok, I admit I went over the top on my last response. My apologies for the flame throwing.

But I stand by my contention that there is no way for Marc to know exactly what was in the minds of the 1771 people who answered "yes" to the "drought" question.

"Prayer" and "help ease" do not automatically mean the yes-sayers meant "God will answer our prayers and make it rain." If you believe that that is the only possible reason behind the "yes" answer than you haven't taken enough time to consider all the possibilites.

Besides, Marc can't go back to the Soviet Union. He's a Hoosier.

- Polly

michael f. said...

I think what we're witnessing here is the emergence of BBS's first blog troll.

"A blog troll is an obnoxious, hurtful and incredibly valuable loser who, for whatever reason, is both obsessed by and constantly annoyed with, and deeply offended by everything you write on your blog."

Marc Conklin said...

Anonymous, please reveal yourself.

Scott said...

Anonymous Poly is revealing something far more disturbing than the concept of prayer somehow appealing to the weather Gods.

Language relativism.

It goes like this. I know that the words on the survey or page or in the newspaper, (or whatever SAY: "Do you think prayer can help ease the drought" but you can't base people's responses on that. You need to ask them how they interpret the meaning of that direct language. In other words, the actual language itself is relative. It is irrelevant. It's not what you say, that doesn't mean anything anymore. It's how you feel about what you say that gives it its meaning. In this way, no one can ever know what anyone really means when they say something.

You can't argue with that.

No, really. You can't. I mean, you simply cannot argue with that. It can't be done.

Mike said...

Jesus, this blog has suddenly become "Bye-Bye Wittgenstein."

The Wordman said...

first response: whatever. *this* has been done: eschatology only sounds convincing when you've got running water in the sink. and if you're more into hand-wringing than praying, then go for it.

second: "If someone believes prayer helps, then it helps." indeed, I think it does help people who believe in a mystical superstructure undergirding the known universe, albeit a superstructure THAT HAS EARS, in this case. I'm not into anthropomorphism, but I do believe in John Lennon: "Whatever gets you through the night, it's alright, it's alright..."

third: how about a little compassion for the people of Atlanta? the government apparently has no answers (did I hear some poor schmuck in the thirsty crowd cry out, "won't George Bush and his Compassionate FEMA Cowboys come and save us?!"). I'm sure anyone who could help has done what they could, still to no avail.

I have no answers, I have no resources to put practical aid and comfort into this issue: I can't make the rain fall, and I can't send a check to Roundy's earmarked for a shipment of a million bottles of Aquafina down to the affected areas.

so how does pulling the rug out from under desperate people in a difficult situation in Atlanta help anything: you want to go down there and personally tell the victims of this drought that God is Dead and they should all grow up and get a life? maybe they could've learned to conserve better if they weren't such bible-thumpers and creationists, who believed "God will provide" in the face of human-caused (or just plain natural) ecological catastrophe?

now we're about to see another major city in the U.S. suffer a situation that used to be reserved for the Third World. I'd say, they can fucking pray to a mountain of flaming Michelin tires if it makes 'em feel better -- nobody else seems to care enough to resolve this situation in a _rational_ way.

WE NEED A FUNDAMENTAL, SOCIETAL CHANGE IN THINKING IN OUR GOVERNMENT, OUR STATES, and OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES.

praying might help, but being responsible and keeping focused when the Media keeps poking us in the eyes and ears with chopsticks designed for maximum market share would be a helluva lot better.

that said, I refuse to deny the validity of any other sentient being's experience, however inconceivably different from my own experience. just as long as they have the same respect for me.

fourth: Mike -- Florida isn't the South, it's Disneyland minus Goofy featuring a compensatory 'cold' civil war between service workers, overtan seniors, and good ol' boys with gunracks and alligator-bite scars on they extremities. everyone there prays for water, and God delivers...

get yourself a Mojito or a G&T with a paper parasol or a conch shell brimming with Everclear and
r e l a a a x x . . .

drowning in compassion for a world I did not make,

tl

Anonymous said...

Scott, this is not intended as a snarky comment. I say this w/all due respect. But I honestly have no idea what your point is. Can you elaborate? Language IS relative. Relative to context, audience, the intentions of the writer or speaker (etc.). Are you agreeing or disagreeing w/that general concept? Or perhaps you were intending to make an alternative point that I simply missed.

- Dave K.

The Wordman said...

one name: Alfred Korzybski:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Korzybski

'Anecdote about Korzybski...

One day, Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and he suddenly interrupted the lesson in order to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he just had to eat something, and he asked the students on the seats in the front row, if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit. "Nice biscuit, don't you think", said Korzybski, while he took a second one. The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. On it was a big picture of a dog's head and the words "Dog Cookies". The students looked at the package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to throw up, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. "You see, ladies and gentlemen", Korzybski remarked, "I have just demonstrated that people don't just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter." Apparently his prank aimed to illustrate how some human suffering originates from the confusion or conflation of linguistic representations of reality and reality itself.'

Anonymous said...

You should ask Mrs. Clausen if she thinks prayer can help block the blitzing Air Force cornerback? Her son's life is at stake.

Anonymous said...

Okay, how 'bout this one: If you asked the Notre Dame football players "Do you think prayer can help ease the drought of the 2007 season?" Would 70% answer "Yes"?

- DK

Marc Conklin said...

If the current ND football season is any indication, then there definitely is not a God.

Check that. Actually, there are probably more people actively praying at any given moment for Notre Dame to lose than to win.

Hallelujah!

Scott said...

Dave K, My point here is, as Marc points out, the wording of the poll does not idicate that prayer makes you feel better about the drought, but rather, that prayer will actually cause the drougt to end. Two different things. But your interpretation differed from the language used.

This actually inspired my last article on my blog. For my full rant on the subject visit: www.malaproposition.com