Researchers find mixed values for “thoughts and prayers”

❝ An experiment led by Assistant Professor Linda Thunstrom, of the Department of Economics in UW’s College of Business, found that Christians who suffer such adversity value thoughts and prayers from religious strangers, while atheists and agnostics believe they are worse off from such gestures…

❝ The debate over the value of “thoughts and prayers” has come to the forefront as a result of the verbal responses of political and other leaders to mass shootings and natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. Some critics argue that expressing sympathy through thoughts and prayers is a meaningless gesture in response to tragedy — and that, in some cases, it’s an excuse to not take action…

❝ Specifically, the study found that, on average, Christian hurricane victims value prayers from a Christian stranger at $4.36, and $7.17 from a priest. In contrast, non-religious people are willing to pay $3.54 for a Christian stranger and $1.66 for a priest to not pray for them.

Likewise, Christians value thoughts from a religious stranger at $3.27, while non-religious people negatively value the same gesture at -$2.02.

You can find details over here. Chuckles pretty much anywhere.

Abortion Bans Based on So-Called “Science” Are Fraudulent

❝ We are scientists, and we believe that evidence, not ideology, should inform health care decisions. The wave of anti-abortion laws across the U.S. is the latest in a long string of attempts to falsely use the language and authority of science to justify denying people their basic human rights and inflict lasting harm. Although abortion is still legal in every state, recent legislation in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio threatens the future of abortion rights in the country. Scientists should, first and foremost, value evidence, and the evidence is clear: abortion bans cause harm. They make abortions less safe and especially harm historically marginalized communities…

❝ So-called heartbeat bills, which ban abortion as early as after six weeks of pregnancy, are not based on science. In fact, no heart yet exists in an embryo at six weeks. Yet six states and counting enacted such bills in 2019, in addition to Alabama’s near-total ban. Equally unscientific “abortion reversal” laws are also gaining traction. These laws, now on the books in eight states, require doctors to tell patients receiving a medication abortion, a safe and effective way to end an early pregnancy, that it can be reversed halfway through to save their pregnancy.

Not only is this law bad science, it is actively dangerous. The idea of abortion reversal is based on a single study of six participants that was (poorly) conducted without an ethics review board. The so-called abortion reversal procedure is experimental and has neither been clinically tested nor approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

❝ Both heartbeat bills and abortion reversal laws have been opposed by leading medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Real doctors, real scientists, don’t rely on ancient myths and legends to advance the health and welfare of our species. A primary reason they have success rate scores enormously higher than superstitious mumbo-jumbo.

Self-righteous protesters demand “GOOD OMENS” be removed…from the wrong company

❝ A Christian group known as Return to Order (ran) a campaign to urge Netflix to remove the show Good Omens…which was released on Amazon…The limited series—based on a 1990 novel written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman—tells the story of a demon and angel joining forces to stop Armageddon. It’s a show that celebrates unity during these divisive times.

❝ But, as the Guardian first reported, Return to Order doesn’t approve of the forces of heaven and hell uniting for a common goal. The group, which is essentially a brand extension of the book Return to Order by biblical scholar John Horvat II, created a petition urging Netflix to “pull the series at once,” and, “Stop promoting evil!” Again, Netflix can’t do either of those things because it doesn’t produce or stream the show Good Omens, Amazon does…

❝ The petition page…mentioned several reasons that the show is “blasphemous.” Among Return to Order’s concerns are the series featuring an angel and a demon as close friends, “God is voiced by a woman,” the antichrist is “portrayed as a normal kid that has special powers,” and the “four riders of the Apocalypse, God’s means of punishing sinful earth, are portrayed as a group of bikers.”

Religious nutters won’t stop being nutters, They do apparently comprehend looking silly. They’ve rerouted their protest to Amazon. Not so incidentally, Amazon folks enjoyed the chuckle, too.

BTW, I found the series to be just one of the best things on the telly, this summer.

Trump Gullibillies expected JFKjr to rise from the dead on July 4th

❝ Donald Trump supporters who embrace the bizarre and outlandish conspiracy theory known as “QAnon” turned out on July 4 in Washington, D.C., for Trump’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Many of them believed that the event would see the emergence from a supposed 20-year period of hiding by John F. Kennedy Jr., son of the 35th U.S. president, according to a report by The Daily Beast.

And when JFK Jr,. reappeared, he would declare himself to be an ardent Trump fan and, according to a summary of the conspiracy theory by Rolling Stone magazine, might even announce that he would be Trump’s new vice-presidential running mate in the 2020 presidential election.

Erm. That didn’t happen.

At first, I thought most Trump supporters were of the ignoranus species. That calculation had to be amended to include those irrevocably stupid. Now, I admit we’re simply witnessing the dissolution and reformation of the GOP as an American incarnation of the Monster Raving Loony Party

“Good Christian” Hospital Sues Its Own Employees When They Can’t Pay Medical Bills

Paid crap wages and, BTW, they have no choice in medical insurance. They can only sign up for the plan run by the hospital chain.


Andrea Morales for MLK50

❝ From 2014 through 2018, the hospital system, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, has filed more than 8,300 lawsuits against patients, including some of its own workers. After winning judgments, it has sought to garnish the wages of more than 160 Methodist workers and has actually done so in more than 70 instances over that time…

❝ It’s not uncommon for hospitals to sue patients over unpaid debts. In fact, as NPR reported Tuesday, recent research shows that more than a third of hospitals in Virginia do so. And earlier reporting from NPR and ProPublica found the practice in several other states.

But what is striking at Methodist, the largest hospital system in the Memphis region, is how many of the patients being sued are the hospital’s own employees. Hardly a week goes by in which Methodist workers aren’t on the court docket fighting debt lawsuits filed by their employer.

❝ On a single January day, there were 10 defendants on the docket whose place of employment was listed in court records as Methodist.

Employees in scrubs sat just feet away from the attorneys in dress suits — attorneys their employer had hired to sue them. The hospital’s role as a tax-exempt organization that both employs the defendants and is suing them went unremarked upon by judges, attorneys and the defendants themselves.

I don’t really think this is the vision of folks who started churches like this one. In truth, how does it continue to qualify as legitimate – and get juicy tax exemptions?

Noah’s Ark Owners Sues Over Rain Damage!

❝ A gigantic ark gets built with the help of a higher power, a symbolic refuge from the depravity of humankind. It is a huge, grandiose structure constructed out of wood that is perhaps larger than anything comparable in the world. Then heavy rains begin to fall, inundating the earth around it.

And that is when the lawyers are called.

OK. The damage results from how the grounds around the Ark were contoured – and affected by 40 or 50 days of rain in a year. Not quite up to the biblical standard. Still, pretty funny.