January 15, 2010

When Prayer Works

Unemployment line at FDR
Unemployment line at FDR (Photo credit: kanu101)
When JoAnna Caldwell and a few others recently braved freezing temperatures to gather in Central Park Plaza for a brief Christian prayer asking for for jobs, they actually accomplished something. Regardless of the fact that prayer has been repeatedly discredited in scientific studies, Caldwell and friends managed to do some good. Through their action and the publicity they received from the Journal-Courier (Jacksonville, IL), they brought attention to an important social and economic issue: unemployment. I suspect that their action will spark at least some discussion in their community about unemployment, and it is hard to imagine how that is a bad thing.

In this sense, we can agree that Ms. Caldwell's prayer worked. Of course, no sane person expects supernatural intervention on her behalf. And yes, if she is truly hearing voices, she might benefit from a psychiatric evaluation to see if she would benefit from medication. But none of this necessarily detracts from her success in calling attention to unemployment in her community.

Could Ms. Caldwell have accomplished the same thing without any god talk? Absolutely. Would her efforts be better spent doing something else instead of promoting superstition? Probably. But I suggest that what she did was still probably better than doing nothing at all.

H/T to Stupid Evil Bastard

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