Atheist in a foxhole

| 81 Comments

I hope this is not too far off task, but two years ago, on June 4, 2011, at approximately 8 a.m., I took my wife to the emergency room. I did not bring her home again till November 18.

On the fourth day in the hospital (and the second in the intensive care unit), a young infectious-disease specialist decided to treat her for encephalitis and ask questions later. The diagnosis was confirmed in a couple of days: HSV-1 encephalitis. Complications, including nearly fatal pneumonia, followed, and my wife remained in a semi-conscious state for around two months, ultimately sporting four tubes sticking out of various locations.

A very good friend, whom the nurses knew as That Doctor Who Always Visits, came in and looked at the chart every day. One morning, he was leaving just as I was arriving. “I wish I could pray,” he remarked. “Yes,” I said, “but God – that is, the god that we do not believe in – would not respond to such prayers anyway.” That Doctor agreed, God would not allow someone to become sick and then effect a cure just because someone asked. Surely, God, who already knew our feelings, would not be so capricious as that.

And indeed, I did not once pray to God or bargain with God (or anyone else) during the entire ordeal. Contrary to something I once wrote (here, p. 166), there are atheists in foxholes.

I never saw the infectious-disease specialist again; I think she was there that day to substitute for her partner. Was she an angel? No; she was a well-trained physician evaluating her evidence. My wife’s survival (with all of her marbles) is nevertheless a miracle: a modern medical miracle. God had nothing to do with it.

81 Comments

Anyone who says there are no atheists in foxholes has not read about the Siege of Leningrad. (Glad to hear it worked out well, Matt.)

As I said on the BW, I am not sure why this phrase is even touted by Christians as a point of pride. Even if ‘no atheists in foxholes’ was true, it certainly wouldn’t be something I’d brag about. If some people do get religion in times of overwhelming fear, stress, and pain, that is not exactly a selling point for its rationality.

Its kinda like claiming that many people believe your theology when they are high on crack. Maybe that’s true, but I don’t see why it should that convince me you are right.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

XKCD said the same thing in similar personal circumstances.

http://xkcd.com/836/

Glad to hear your wife made it through ok.

There are no theists in rabbit holes.

Just saying.

Glen Davidson

Thank you for sharing. I am very glad that your wife was able to come home with her facilities in tact. Modern medicine, for all we still have yet to understand, is amazing because the science works.

Glad to hear that your wife survived and survived well, Matt.

I have no comment about your doctor. All I know is that when I hear the phrase “I wish I could pray”, then there’s something going on with somebody. And I’ve heard it more than once. My heart always hangs

Meanwhile, at an interfaith dialog some years ago, I was seated next to two mainline Christians, a Muslim imam, a Buddhist, a Jewish rabbi, and maybe one or two more.

“We all serve the same God,” the two mainline Christian ladies said.

“No, that’s not true,” said the Muslim imam. I listened to them a moment, stared at the table and said nothing, for I was embarrassed that a Muslim imam knew more about the respective claims of the Bible and the Koran than two Christian ladies. Kind of ackward.

But that’s when the Buddhist guy told his story. Not sure why he picked that moment, but he did pick that moment.

“My wife was in the (local) hospital, and she suffered from a very serious disease,” he said. “The doctors could not do anything for her, and we were growing desperate. We didn’t know what to do.”

“A black man was walking down the hallway, and as this man got closer, I recognized that it was a local Pentecostal Christian pastor named (name deleted but I knew who it was immediately). This pastor smiled, said hello and how was I doing, and I told him there in the hallway about my wife and our situation.

“He said encouraging things, and asked if we could pray together right there. We both went to my wife’s hospital bed and he prayed for my wife, and afterwards he departed.”

“The next day my wife was healed. The disease was gone.”

The Buddhist guy remained a Buddhist. Nobody asked why he remained a Buddhist after what had just happened. But that was honestly okay, it was good enough that he had courageously chosen to share his healing story at all.

****

So what’s the point of sharing this story with you? Well, like you, he didn’t try to cut any divine deals or bargains. It was the black preacher that asked to pray with his family, NOT the other way around.

And of course, he didn’t even convert to Christianity (and the black Pentecostal preacher did not ask him or his wife to do so.) Nor did the preacher ask for any money or any favors or make any promises.

It was just a chance encounter, the Christian preacher said some encouraging things to the Buddhist guy and prayed for the wife, and then he went home and that’s that. Next day the wife was healed of the disease.

But the Buddhist man never forgot what happened. It changed his outlook about life and God, even though he labeled himself a Buddhist (and may still do so, I don’t know).

God healed the Buddhist’s wife just off of one preacherman’s one-shot prayer asking God to heal his wife.

Would that event convincingly answer your doctor’s specific objection, the one you agreed with? Probably not.

But the Buddhist and his wife needed a miracle. THEY, are happy with the one-shot prayer and subsequent healing, and they don’t see God as capricious or unfair about it.

****

We all have foxholes. Or we will one day, if we keep on living. Why face life’s foxhole without God?

FL

Typo Correction: “My heart always hangs heavy when I hear that statement.”

FL said:

God healed the Buddhist’s wife just off of one preacherman’s one-shot prayer asking God to heal his wife.

Yeah, right. Just like your gods healed all those children in Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Except the ones they left to die.

I’m not quite sure why FL’s God went through all of the trouble to design so many killer organisms anyhow.

Wait a minute, I just thought of something. God must have designed everything to appear evolved because he didn’t want the blame for malaria, TB, pneumonia, etc. I suppose we can thank the various IDiots for keeping the blame strictly upon God.

Glen Davidson

I wish I could pray

To some degree, this is a similar statement to “there are no atheists in foxholes”, just expressed in a non-judgmental manner.

When faced with emotional trauma, humans like to imagine the presence of a powerful, loving, human-like ally, perhaps not dissimilar to what a caring parent seems like to a very small child.

That and the human love of ritual and scheduled celebrations are major attractions of religion.

Those were essentially the appeal of the church I was raised in. One, you had reasons to get together with other people for a ritual and a celebration once in a while, and two, when times were really bleak, you could call on Jesus. And I don’t deny that those were both fairly positive features. (As I’ve noted before, although I had a lot of trauma and disruption in my childhood, I was luckier than some in terms of not being raised in a hateful, intolerant religion.)

But, you know, Santa Claus is great, too. You reach a time when you just can’t believe anymore, even if you’d like to. It just isn’t convincing.

Matt, it is very good to hear that modern medicine was able to help your wife through encephalitis, with such a good outcome. Good wishes going forward.

FL, you asked “Why face life’s foxhole without God?” Which God should I randomly select?

If my selection makes no difference to God, why select any? It makes no difference.

If it does make a difference, the odds are I’ll pick the wrong one.

sean s.

FL: “God healed the Buddhist’s wife just off of one preacherman’s one-shot prayer asking God to heal his wife.”

Sorry, but you’ve made a logical leap that I am not willing to make. You’ve shown no evidence that the claim that the prayer caused the cure. In fact, the only thing that can be accurately said is that the two events are correlated. You may find that correlation sufficient for belief, but it isn’t sufficient for evidence of the cause you claim.

FL: “Why face life’s foxhole without God?” For the same reason that face adversity without Athena. I am not convinced your God exists. Why would I waste my time?

For a view about thanking those who deserve it (and exist), see Daniel Dennett Thank Goodness I’m Alive

In fact, the only thing that can be accurately said is that the two events are correlated. You may find that correlation sufficient for belief, but it isn’t sufficient for evidence of the cause you claim.

I agree completely with the sentiment, but I’m going to make a few nerdy comments.

Mathematical correlation is a quantitative relationship that requires more than one set of events. It also requires quantifiable events; for relationships between qualitative variables we’d use a different test.

The reason I bother to mention this is that, although it is absolutely true that genuine statistical correlation does not equal causation - there can be a third hidden variable, for example ice cream sales/month used to be said to correlate with drownings/month, with warm weather as the hidden variable driving each - it often does. Science deniers and other illogical types often use the phrase “correlation does not equal causation” to deny reality; they often try to explain away an obvious valid relationship by calling it a “correlation” and then using that phrase. In fact, it’s not all that rare for creationists and other reality-denying types to use the phrase to, in essence, deny that correlation means anything at all. In my subjective opinion, some of the duller ones even seem to have the opinion that things are less likely to be related if they are correlated.

Meanwhile, what we have here from FL is a classic post hoc ergo propter hoc argument. The prayer came before the recovery, therefore the prayer must have caused the recovery. However, Pentecostal prayer does not reliably produce recovery from illness. Distant prayer has been tested and found to have no effect. Visitors who pray have a mild beneficial effect in many conditions, although almost certainly no more so than any other caring visitors.

You’ve shown no evidence that the claim that the prayer caused the cure. In fact, the only thing that can be accurately said is that the two events are correlated.

Okay. Correlated. Has a nice ring to it.

It has to be said that the correlation was more than sufficient for the Buddhist and his wife.

FL said:

You’ve shown no evidence that the claim that the prayer caused the cure. In fact, the only thing that can be accurately said is that the two events are correlated.

Okay. Correlated.

But how about those dead kids, Flawd? You know, the ones you and your ilk say your gods will miraculously heal? Except they don’t, do they, Flawd. They just leave them to die.

BTW, that stuff on your hands? That’s blood.

I haven’t been in foxholes, but I can tell you that those who resort to praying in a crisis on a submarine will no longer be part of the crew if and when the sub makes it back to port.

I recall an incident in which a young, enlisted reservist from some backwater was assigned to our boat as a result of some administrative error somewhere. The kid came across the gangplank with a bible in his hand and told the deck watch that he would go to hell if he didn’t get “saved.”

After a few hours in the after torpedo room with a few members of the crew, the kid was in a panic and begging to leave the boat. He was gone before morning; error corrected.

That kind of mental instability does not belong on a submarine. Screening for submarine duty is not just physical; it is also psychological.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

I’m not quite sure why FL’s God went through all of the trouble to design so many killer organisms anyhow.

Wait a minute, I just thought of something. God must have designed everything to appear evolved because he didn’t want the blame for malaria, TB, pneumonia, etc. I suppose we can thank the various IDiots for keeping the blame strictly upon God.

Glen Davidson

According to Michael Behe’s “Edge of Evolution,” God deliberately designed disease pathogens to develop resistance to human medicines.

So why didn’t God protect the children and others who’ve been killed in the several tornados in Oklahoma? And all around the world people die every day, yet I suspect the majority of them are religious in one way or another and pray for help. Their prayers don’t seem to be answered, but instead it seems to be rather random events and circumstances as to who lives and who dies. So if someone prays and the person lives, God was there, but if they die, then it was just their time and God couldn’t/wouldn’t help?

Suppose I wrote a completely fictional article for a fundamentalist/evangelical magazine about a “healing” that rang all the right evangelical bells: ‘incurable’ disease; doctors have given up; visit by pastor who ‘lays on hands’; sickbed conversion by the patient; doctors can’t explain the cure, etc. What the hell, throw in a near-death experience–maybe Jesus saying, “It’s not your time yet. I have work for you to do still.”

I could write that very convincingly. All I would need are a few examples of similar allegedly true stories in that or similar publications. AND, I think I’ll donate the article and send along a check for a couple of thousand so the magazine can continue its ‘ministry’.

Now, my question: What are the chances that magazine would exert any effort to authenticate my story? Would they try to contact the fictional patient? Contact me for names and addresses of doctors, nurses, other witnesses? General fact checking of any kind?

I’m betting–not a chance in hell. (But lots of mail solicitations for all sorts of Christian media, and the chance to contribute more money for the furtherance of God’s work.

We don’t know much about God but one thing is certain: He is a most capricious thing. How could I trust a character like that?

I think that the “I wish I could pray” thing wasn’t for healing, but for comfort. That’s religion’s big hook, comfort. It makes people feel better, especially those that have no idea how to deal with emotions (mostly people raised in highly authoritarian homes).

When you are told, as a child, not to cry and suck it up and ‘deal with it’. You fail to lean how to deal with the really strong emotions that come from someone’s near (or actual) death. Religion gives a way to deal with those emotions that are generally acceptable to authoritarians.

People who have dealt with emotions constructively before can do so again, without the need for religion. It’s hard, it sucks, but dealing with strong emotions like this is the sign of a mature person.

I could be wrong about the doctor’s thoughts, but I thought it important to mention the comfort side of religion.

FL said: We all have foxholes. Or we will one day, if we keep on living. Why face life’s foxhole without God?

1. Because actions of worship have an opportunity cost. In a foxhole, that opportunity cost could be life-threateningly high.

2. Because some of us need more than just a promise of benefit to believe, we need a credible reason to believe that promise.

3. Because, AIUI, your god will not listen to people who are praying out of a mercenary, insincere desire for personal benefit anyway - so even according to you, its pointless for us to do so.

3. Because, AIUI, your god will not listen to people who are praying out of a mercenary, insincere desire for personal benefit anyway - so even according to you, its pointless for us to do so.

I believe you are confusing standard traditional Christian ideas about God with the post-modern ideas about God that politically active ID/creationists espouse.

I don’t believe in either version, but it is instructive to differentiate.

Historically, Christianity was used as a justification for great brutality on innumerable occasions. However, traditional Christians also tended to try to understand and follow ethical commands. That may seem ironic, in many cases, but they did tend to do that. We may utterly disagree with their bigotry, brutality, and judgmentalism, but there was often an effort, and often a very self-denying and rigorous effort, to comply to the ethics of Christianity as they saw them.

I think it’s important to understand that the post-modern version of fundamentalism has retained the bigotry and advocacy for brutality, but more or less thrown away any concept of attempting to limit their own behavior. All limits are for other people. They can do whatever they want, literally, as long as they make a smug “repentance” at some point in time. Furthermore they can, and pointedly do, pray for the most superficial and mercenary personal desires. And I’m not talking about praying to survive in a foxhole or recover from a serious disease. They pray for big, polluting cars and McMansions.

harold,

I believe you’re referring to “prosperity theology”, i.e. the idea that God rewards the faithful with Mercedes limos and 50 foot swimming pools.

what the christians are so proud of - despite it being far less than universal - is the fact that people under the harshest stress break down and give in to their fears. taking pride in the fact that your system of self-declared evidence-free authority has terrified people into submission is just another example of the general moral incompetence of christianity. christians confuse hundreds of years of imposing morals upon people with actual moral skill, but i have yet to meet a single one with a gift for ethics

Even if god exists, he’s pretty much restricted to curing minor little issues that aren’t well understood anyway, like cancer for example.

A lot of cancer patients won’t mind that “restriction” at all, Ogre. Gives far more hope than your atheism!

Chirp chirp.

FL | June 11, 2013 7:49 AM | Reply | Edit Even if god exists, he’s pretty much restricted to curing minor little issues that aren’t well understood anyway, like cancer for example.

A lot of cancer patients won’t mind that “restriction” at all, Ogre. Gives far more hope than your atheism!

You could say the same about laetrile. But that’s unfair to laetrile; it probably doesn’t work, but it doesn’t have millenia of negative results behind it either.

billmaz said:

Now, here’s the rub. I can’t imagine how this whole complex world could have come about without some ultimate being.

Can you imagine how some “ultimate being” came about? No? Then why bother with that extra imaginary step? Why not just be unable to “imagine how this whole complex world could have come about”?

Then you’d have one fewer thing that you can’t imagine.

‘Just Bob’, heh, wonderful!

Besides that, even if it could be established that some sort of being caused space-time in the first place, that by itself would not establish that said being micromanaged (or even observed) any of the details in or on any particular planet (or other location) in that space-time.

Henry J said:

Besides that, even if it could be established that some sort of being caused space-time in the first place, that by itself would not establish that said being micromanaged (or even observed) any of the details in or on any particular planet (or other location) in that space-time.

Belief that God created all things does not tell us anything about how, when, or where the details of His creation turned out the way they did. Why, for example, is the human body most similar to the bodies of chimps and other apes, among all living things? We can accept that each of us is a creature of God, standing in a personal relationship with our Creator and Redeemer, without having any idea why we have the body plan typical of apes.

Is it any better to say that God deliberately, with some purpose in mind, (or was it some constraint on what God was able to do?) made us similar to chimps and other apes, rather than that that being a result of common descent? What is there about God and “man” that dictates the human body plan?

TomS said:

What is there about God and “man” that dictates the human body plan?

Well, at least to the OT writers, God had a human-shaped body–so much so that he could pass unrecognized, as a normal human (see Jacob’s wrestling match). I believe they meant “created in his image” literally, although most Christians nowadays want that to mean with a soul in his image, or in his ‘spiritual’ image, or something.

FL said:

Even if god exists, he’s pretty much restricted to curing minor little issues that aren’t well understood anyway, like cancer for example.

A lot of cancer patients won’t mind that “restriction” at all, Ogre. Gives far more hope than your atheism!

But that’s not what God is about dude. Less than 2,000 years ago, his minions were curing blindness, regrowing limbs, healing people from being dead. Now, he’s reduced to SOMETIMES curing a disease that we barely understand.

Show me one trauma patient, in the last 1,500 years who was completely cured within an hour after being prayed over. All you can show me is a few people who might or might not have survived anyway.

I CAN show you over 200 children who died because they got prayers instead of medicine. Almost every one of them would be alive had they gotten medical help. But they didn’t get medical help. They got prayers and they died.

Are you willing to risk your own life, FL, in the same way? Or do you go to the doctor? What about your kids? Did they go to the doctor?

How much smaller must the gap get before you realize that there’s nothing actually in the gap?

FL why does your god only seem to cure things that can’t easily be seen with the naked eye in front of a congregation like, for example an amputated leg or a gouged out eyeball?

What about a bullet hole or a large skin growth? Why is it always something that can’t be verified or even seen?

Cabal said:

FL why does your god only seem to cure things that can’t easily be seen with the naked eye in front of a congregation like, for example an amputated leg or a gouged out eyeball?

What about a bullet hole or a large skin growth? Why is it always something that can’t be verified or even seen?

Because an obviously failed amputation replacement doesn’t keep those Love Gifts To Continue The Healing Ministry rolling in.

Nice

Just Bob said:

billmaz said:

Now, here’s the rub. I can’t imagine how this whole complex world could have come about without some ultimate being.

Can you imagine how some “ultimate being” came about? No? Then why bother with that extra imaginary step? Why not just be unable to “imagine how this whole complex world could have come about”?

Then you’d have one fewer thing that you can’t imagine.

“God either exists, or He doesn’t exist” is a bit simplistic, too. What do you mean by God?

Billmaz is making the argument from ultimate cause, but the argument from ultimate cause, even if it is accepted, defines God as “that which is the ultimate cause”. But that is defining something in circular terms. God is ultimate cause, because ultimate cause must be God; and that is useless. It merely regresses infinitely. It’s the equation at the end of the attempt to reconcile quantum mechanics with relativity, the infinity to which the calculation reduces. It implies that God is necessarily unknowable. The result is classic agnostic deism.

Which is, like the argument from ultimate cause itself, bootless. As well have no God at all.

Less than 2,000 years ago, his minions were curing blindness, regrowing limbs, healing people from being dead.

Ha, “healing people from being dead.” Curiously, I have just recently been reading the Gospels (KJV) and it is funny how casually “healing people from being dead” pops up here and there almost as a throw-away comment.

As a completely irrelevant tangent, I DO find the Passion story a very dramatic and moving one, and I do really love artistic representations of it (music primarily but also film).

Just Bob said:

Low percentage of atheists in foxholes? Hmm… I doubt it. But I know where you can find a very high percentage of ‘born-again’ Christians.

Death Row.

Guys (mainly) hoping for that escape clause that allows them forgiveness for their sins of rape, murder, torture, kidnapping, pyromania, etc. So they won’t have to be in hell with all those children born into families with the wrong religion. And biology teachers.

Also, in many prisons, born-again prisoners are treated better than “unrepentant” prisoners are. There are a high percentage of pagans and obscure religious converts, too. They get religious holidays, special “holy food”, and some other favors. But I suspect they have a lower percentage of genuine converts than do the avowed Christians.

Isn’t this all indicative of cognitive biases? Let’s take aside the fact that anecdotes are not statistics - one story sounds great, but clinical trials are better - the story about the Buddhist and the Pastor sounds like Availability Heuristic at work. If 1000 people pray for a sick person and 1 person heals - we tend to forget the 999 people who didn’t heal and tells stories about the 1 that did. (Meanwhile, a few hundred people healed naturally without any prayer intervention - although its possible that medicine helped.)

Frankly, the story of the Buddhist and the Pastor sounds like a folk tale to me. Too good to be true. And certainly, nothing approaching statistical validity that would get me excited about the healing power of prayer. Its less likely someone was healed by prayer and more likely it was the dose of antibiotics they received the night before that worked. If someone were to pray “Please God - let those antibiotics work” and guess what, the antibiotics DID work - who deserves the praise? God - or the pharmaceutical company that helped develop the medicine?

If you believe in an afterlife, the children are healed.

phhht said:

FL said:

You’ve shown no evidence that the claim that the prayer caused the cure. In fact, the only thing that can be accurately said is that the two events are correlated.

Okay. Correlated.

But how about those dead kids, Flawd? You know, the ones you and your ilk say your gods will miraculously heal? Except they don’t, do they, Flawd. They just leave them to die.

BTW, that stuff on your hands? That’s blood.

Joe American said:

If you believe in an afterlife, the children are healed.

phhht said:

FL said:

You’ve shown no evidence that the claim that the prayer caused the cure. In fact, the only thing that can be accurately said is that the two events are correlated.

Okay. Correlated.

But how about those dead kids, Flawd? You know, the ones you and your ilk say your gods will miraculously heal? Except they don’t, do they, Flawd. They just leave them to die.

BTW, that stuff on your hands? That’s blood.

And if you believe in an omniscient God, they did not have to become ill in the first place.

Let’s reason together.

Being A knows 1% of everything. Being B knows 2% of everything, twice as much as Being A. Being A can not understand half of anything Being B says, misinterprets half of what Being B does, and half the time goes against the good advice of Being B (even though it would benefit Being A to do so).

Being C knows 3% of everything. Being A understands only a third of C’s motivations, intentions and refuses to trust his own faulty instinct, (even tough it would benefit Being A to do so).

Now continue on with progressively more intelligent beings. Assuming there is no limit on the intelligence and knowledge that a single being might have (in fact, we have no proof that there is actually a limit), could it be that such a being, who knows 100% of everything exists? It would indeed be irrational to think that such a being does not exist if your only proof to refute the idea of an all-knowing being was an irrational faith without evidence that such a being does not exist. Indeed it is more likely that such a being DOES exist, or at least more rational to place faith that one does rather than place faith that one does not, since there is at least observable evidence of increasingly knowledgeable beings and no proof of a limitation on knowledge.

ogremk5 said: But that’s not what God is about dude. Less than 2,000 years ago, his minions were curing blindness, regrowing limbs, healing people from being dead. Now, he’s reduced to SOMETIMES curing a disease that we barely understand.

One of the general signs of pseudoscience is that the signal is always right at the noisy edge. When instruments improve and the LOD drops, the pseudoscientific evidence for the effect drops with it, maintaining its position at the noise front. So, for example, when we can barely detect milligrams of He from a cold fusion instrument, they produce 0.1mg. When we suddenly get a detector that can detect micrograms of He, that same fusion plant now only generates 0.1migrogram amounts of He. In pseudoscience, the size of the signal changes in response to the availability of accurate measuring instruments.

Miracle religions function the same way with epidemiological statistics. Their impact on a sick population is always right at the noisy statistical limit. Get better statistics, the effect goes down. Stop collecting data, and the effect goes up.

So, I’m guessing God will always be limited to curing ills we barely understand - because that’s medicine’s noisy edge.

Joe American said:

Let’s reason together.

Being A knows 1% of everything. Being B knows 2% of everything, twice as much as Being A. Being A can not understand half of anything Being B says, misinterprets half of what Being B does, and half the time goes against the good advice of Being B (even though it would benefit Being A to do so).

Being C knows 3% of everything. Being A understands only a third of C’s motivations, intentions and refuses to trust his own faulty instinct, (even tough it would benefit Being A to do so).

Now continue on with progressively more intelligent beings. Assuming there is no limit on the intelligence and knowledge that a single being might have (in fact, we have no proof that there is actually a limit), could it be that such a being, who knows 100% of everything exists? It would indeed be irrational to think that such a being does not exist if your only proof to refute the idea of an all-knowing being was an irrational faith without evidence that such a being does not exist. Indeed it is more likely that such a being DOES exist, or at least more rational to place faith that one does rather than place faith that one does not, since there is at least observable evidence of increasingly knowledgeable beings and no proof of a limitation on knowledge.

Okay let’s.

If there is no limit to knowledge, then knowing 100% is probably meaningless. The differnce between 1% and 2% certainly is.

Your extrapolation fails because knowing everything requires being able to store and retrieve everything. Without resorting to the supernatural (i.e. instant extropolation fail), this is clearly impossible even for a single moment in time, let alone for every moment in the past and all possible moments in the future.

If such a being does exist, it is certainly irrational to think you have a clue as to what it is thinking. The idea that any being that knows the intimate thoughts of seven billion people even cares what you are thinking, let alone needs your adulation, is bizarre beyond belief.

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