Lakers defeat Magic, and God


This is just a follow up to this story, a followup you will no doubt not find anywhere else, because crazy religious bullshit is never called out in the media, especially when it involves celebrities. At the start of this month, Dwight Howard confidently declared his team, the Magic, would win the NBA championship because of his god. The exact words were, “God. That’s the reason, I’m telling you.” Well, the Lakers won and he and his team lost. So where was his god?

I don’t remember seeing the Lakers riding iron chariots, do you? That’s apparently kryptonite to the god of the Christian bible (Judges 1:19), which I assume is the one Dwight was referring to. Maybe his god didn’t like the shout out. Maybe he failed to give the appropriate burnt offering to his god, which of course smells so sweet to his god (Numbers 29:6). Maybe, despite the promise and the belief from Howard, his god already had the outcome worked out. Maybe he would have liked to help out the Magic, but you know, there’s that whole non-intervention, free will thing which prevents him from interfering. Maybe he was able but simply not willing?

We could go around and around like this all day. It’s fun, but not really the reason why I’m doing this followup. The reason is I’m really tired of the media giving a pass to nonsense like this. When anyone claims something is going to happen because of some supernatural entity, that everyone needs to beg such an entity for some favorable outcome like rain, or that we must do this or that in order to secure continued favor from such an entity, those kinds of claims need to be called out in the media, and in cases like this where the claim was made and the claim turned out to be bunk, well somebody should be calling that out, and it certainly shouldn’t just be me.

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16 Responses to “Lakers defeat Magic, and God”

  1. Philly said, "We could go around and around like this all day."

    Indeed, as with prayer studies. Do you still think they're scientific?

    Philly said, "When anyone claims something is going to happen because of some supernatural entity, that everyone needs to beg such an entity for some favorable outcome like rain, or that we must do this or that in order to secure continued favor from such an entity, those kinds of claims need to be called out in the media, and in cases like this where the claim was made and the claim turned out to be bunk, well somebody should be calling that out, and it certainly shouldn't just be me."

    Part of me agrees, but part of me also thinks that giving more media focus to comments like Howard's is silly.

    Incidentally – the Bible appears to disapprove of Howard's comment.

  2. Yes, because they're testing a claim. Your objections to the studies should actually be objections to either the claims or any such ridiculous excuses for why the claims didn't hold up.

    Perhaps believers should be made to include all those disclaimers about the supposed efficacy of prayer like they make pharmaceutical companies include disclaimers involving the efficacy of their drugs.

    I wonder how many people would go to church if they were told it could cause anal leakage or e.d.?

    I think people should be called out in the media for making outrageous claims such as what their god may or may not do, or whether an invasion of another nation is justified, but that's just me. I have a thing about claims and accountability.

  3. a followup you will no doubt not find anywhere else, because

    Evo knew this post was coming from Philly, so even though he was sorely tempted, he refrained and let the right blogger handle it!

    Besides, I just wanted to enjoy the moment and to self-satisfyingly think about the many Christian around the country who are also among the many "Kobe-haters". Hey, God loves Kobe Bryant. Selfish, surly, sex-offending Kobe Bryant. God's kind of guy. Do I seem like the kind of blogger who would ever argue with providence?

    Lakers will win next year too and probably 3 of the next 6 years. Ah… thank you Jesus. Thank you Lord.

  4. I'm so glad I'm not into basketball.

  5. Testing a claim != science. If it did, Howard's claim would qualify as science. The claim itself must be falsifiable.

  6. Howard put me in a tough spot this season. I hate the Lakers. I don't hate them at die-hard Celtics fan levels, but it's not like the Bulls never ran across them and they don't give me reasons to hate them, anyway (although, y'know, Phil Jackson. But I still feel a little weird seeing Phil on the Lakers' bench…).

    But now I can't stand Dwight Howard. So what was I to do during the Finals? Mostly I just yelled, "Where's your god now?" whenever something bad happened to the Magic. That seemed like the best solution.

  7. Testing a claim = testing a claim. How you decide to test is up to you.

    Howard's claim is not like the efficacy of prayer claims. He just said he's going to win because of his god. He could have said because he's black, because he likes jelly beans, or any other thing that has no apparent or claimed correlation. He offered nothing that could be tested.

    Prayer claims, however, state if you pray, X will happen. There's your correlation, and that's what was being tested, whether the claimed act produces the claimed effect.

    What you keep getting hung up on, cl, is how the prayer was supposed to work. That would be like Howard's claim, and yes, there's nothing to test there, but that's not the claim tested in prayer studies. Those studies only test the results claimed to be achievable by praying.

    In the case of Howard, we can take pleasure in the fact that his team lost, and wish that someone call him on his claim. Hell, even if he didn't invoke a god and gave a guarantee of victory ala Joe Namath, he still should be called out for the prediction, but it's the extraordinary reason given for the prediction which requires an extraordinary calling out. ;)

  8. Dwight Howard needs to have Gideon's Zombie-Christ religion in order to win instead. Perhaps if Dwight were to reanimate a fossil or two by the genie powers of Christ in order to increase his flow of good luck chi.

  9. You didn't really expect God to hand the championship to a team named Magic did you?

  10. Philly,

    Man, aren't you the one who always says, "Where's your sense of humor?" The one time I show up in wisecrack mode and you get all serious. Of course there are differences between Howard's claim and prayer claims. I was trying to get you to focus on their similarities. All of your 'what-ifs' apply in prayer studies as well, so how might we say anything scientifically respectable with such a big list of 'what-ifs?'

    I agree with the last paragraph in your comment June 15, 2009 4:46 PM.

  11. The what ifs have no bearing on testing the claim. I really have no idea how to explain that in any simpler terms. I've done it here and I've done it on at least two prior posts. I'm sorry, but either let it go or hire a tutor because I can't speak in any simpler terms.

    Btw, get a comedy coach too, while you're at it.

  12. Geez, so impatient.

    You said, "The what ifs have no bearing on testing the claim."

    Of course they have no bearing on testing the claim. Such does not entail that we've begun with a falsifiable claim, or that we're doing science.

    And who needs a comedy coach when we've got PhillyChief trying his hand at science? Now that's a hoot!

  13. The reason prayer seems ridiculous to an infidel, is because they don't believe in it, therefore it's bullshit… end of story!

    Now, you Einsteins ask yourselves this question:

    If I were God, would I actually give in to the DEMANDS of a bunch of head-wagging ingrates, and cut them any slack where proof of my power or my very existence (outside of that outlined in My Word) is concerned?

    You guys ought to be grateful for the God that you hate, because if I were god, you'd get FUCK-ALL consideration of any kind from me! You wanna be irreverent assholes, fine, be that way, but, don't come bitching to me when your widdle prayers don't get heard, or your job sucks, or your lives are in danger, etc. Funny how many foxhole Christians there are when things get a little difficult, though.

    Hey cl… I've got a great comedy coach for you… his name is Richard Dawkins! Man, whenever this goof opens his pie-hole, I get a damned good belly-laugh!

    The guys' an idiot!

  14. How about that diatribe against God by Dawkins? Is that a sane man spouting off?

    Reminds me of one of these rants, by an equally-disturbed individual, whose name shall remain anonymous…

    "I'd go even further than anthuswilliams did. The bible from which the morons quote gives concrete, sensory examples of the presence of a supernatural being. God did that; Jesus said this. If the five senses are not to be trusted, the bible, in its entirety, can be discarded as evidence of anything."

  15. Gideon, you said, "Reminds me of one of these rants, by an equally-disturbed individual, whose name shall remain anonymous…"

    Although I agree that Philly mostly types rants, and I can agree that Dawkins' writing on religion makes for great comedy-coaching, sometimes I admittedly wonder if we aren't the disturbed individuals for thinking such irrationalism amenable to reason.

  16. LOL! Classic. :)

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