Jesus was a shitty carpenter



The entire story is basically this 5 point plan:


1. David Jimenez prays to a specific crucifix on a church that his wife gets healed of cancer

2. Wife, with every benefit of modern medical science, is cured of cancer.

3. Guy declares his prayers worked, and wants to clean the crucifix

4. Six hundred pound crucifix falls on guy as he’s cleaning.

5. Leg is broken, and has to be amputated.

Luckily, almighty god is there to take care of that amputated leg and medical bills, right? Just like he totally was there before with curing cancer?


Jimenez, who believes in the power of prayer, is now praying for a judgment, not from a higher authority, but from a civil court.

“Not going anywhere for a while?”

Nah, apparently prayer isn’t good enough this time around. Lawsuits: 1 / God: 0


You can find me on twitter, @DrDavidBurger

I recruit in Kansas City,

Video of debate with Bill Victor.
This is why we dont let JT use technology
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About doctorburger
  • Evertonian Calvinist

    Are you guys absolutely certain that prayer doesn’t work? I would like for an atheist to tell me you are absolutely certain about this. Or how about this: is anyone absolutely certain about anything at all? If you do have absolute certainty, I want to know how you have it given your worldview. Any takers?

    • invivoMark

      Prayer has been empirically tested. It failed those tests. I have no reason to suspect that it might work, and lots of solid reasons to suspect that it doesn’t.

      No atheist I know claims to have absolute certainty about anything, except for purposes of rhetorical expediency.

    • iknklast

      I am absolutely certain that prayer has been demonstrated to work on occasions where it is coupled with modern medicine, good hygiene, or other factors. Can I say for sure that the reason I passed my dissertation defense was that I studied and prepared for five years, and completed my research with long hours of hard work? No, it might have been the slight mention of me in the prayers of one of my students who said she would pray for me to pass. It might be that all the rest was worth nothing, and it was only that ONE SIMPLE COUPLE SECOND MENTION that made the difference – but I wouldn’t like my odds.

      People who rely on prayer only may get better, if it’s something that can get better on its own…I’ve seen that happen, but who’s to say the cold went away because you were praying or because colds normally heal up on their own? Or back aches, or headaches, or…the list goes on. Leukemia spontaneously goes into remission…maybe it’s the prayer? The odds are against it.

      Meanwhile, there are children dying every year of totally treatable diseases because their parents relied on prayer. It’s easy to say their faith wasn’t strong enough – but pretty cruel, and unable to be supported by evidence. Meanwhile, kids with the same conditions are going to doctors and surviving, with or without accompaniment of prayer, and in many cases, with a total rejection of prayer, such as is seen in the atheist parents who take their kids to the doctor. Can I say those healings aren’t from generic “bless everybody” prayers around the world? No, not with certainty, but it’s an astoundingly high probability that it was the treatment, and not the prayer, that cured them.

      Coupled with the failures to show any statistical significance in the effect of prayer in numerous studies, and in some cases people doing worse with prayer, I think I will say with a very high (99.9%) degree of certainty that prayer does not work. That’s not the same as absolute certainty, it leaves some room for evidence to change my mind, but you aren’t presenting evidence. You’re just heckling.

      • Evertonian Calvinist

        Ink.. I’m not heckling. Just wanted to see if you were going to be consistent with your worldview and say you couldn’t be absolutely certain. You passed the consistency test. Good work sir. However, you have sort of backed yourself in a corner. If you can’t be absolutely certain about things, can you really know anything with certainty? And if you can’t know anything for certain, do you really know anything at all? Everything you say from here on out will have a cloud of doubt over it….because you are not absolutely certain. So all your conversation has been reduced to uncertainties and lack of knowledge. But your pretty sure prayer doesn’t work. Keep telling yourself that.

        • Loqi

          Oh man. I wish I had time to tear into this piece of epistemological failure.

        • Baal

          We’re also not entirely sure about invisible corn farming unicorns in Bolivia. Please try harder. You haven’t backed anyone into a corner.

        • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

          How certain are you that your God answers prayer? How do you know the difference between things which happen due to prayer, and things which occur without divine intervention? Or does everything happen in response to prayer – yours, or someone else’s? How much of your life is yours? And how much of what you do is because someone else prayed for you to do it?

          So your entire life has been reduced to irrelevance and lack of agency.

        • Cubist

          sez evertonian calvinist: “If you can’t be absolutely certain about things, can you really know anything with certainty?”
          Yes. you can. Granted, you can’t know anything with absolute certainty, and what of it? Is there some kind of problem about knowing things with 99.9999% certainty? Frankly, I don’t really see why ‘absolute certainty’ is such a wonderful thing; there are Xtians who are absolutely certain that Christ is the Messiah, and there are Jews who are absolutely certain that Christ ain’t the Messiah. Alas, they flat-out can’t both be right… so at least one of the two groups in question must be wrong. But both groups possess ‘absolute certainty’ as regards the truth of their Messiah-related belief, so whichever of them is wrong, that group’s ‘absolute certainty’ actively prevents them from recognizing and correcting their error.
          ‘Absolute certainty’ is fine for people who never want to learn anything, I suppose. And it’s okay for people who just want to turn their brains off, shut up, and believe. But if you happen to be someone whose brain is more than just bulk matter that keeps their cranium from imploding, ‘absolute certainty’ is pretty much the last thing you want to have.

        • RobMcCune

          Absolutely prove your basis for absolute certainty, without that your just making unsupported claims.

        • Lee Harrison

          Certainty is not the standard for knowledge in any epistemology.

        • iknklast

          I will answer this, because you addressed it to my comment, but I do think it has been well answered. Having 99.9% certainty about anything is enough for me. That is enough to live my life with safety and security, knowing that occasionally I will be wrong. And I am not devastated by occasionally being wrong (though if my being wrong led to children dying, I would be devastated – see above).

          As I tell my students, not being absolutely certain is scary for a lot of people, but once you learn to accept living without having all the answers, the amount of intellectual freedom you gain is breathtaking. It doesn’t give me freedom to believe in invisible leprechauns, but it gives me freedom to explore possibilities that I never thought of before. If I am certain I am right, it limits my directions. And I don’t need to be absolutely certain I will reach my destination in one piece to get into my car and turn on the key…I take a calculated risk of being wrong. And that’s OK. I love having shadows that I have yet to peer into, cobwebs I have yet to clear. But that doesn’t prevent me from stating with a high degree of probability that it is extremely likely that prayer doesn’t work.

          Oh, and by the way – were you absolutely certain when you referred to me as “sir”? Or only 99.9% certain? Because you were wrong. I am female.

    • DavidMc

      There’s no certainty that prayer doesn’t work.

      It’s a scale, a scale of things that might cure cancer, or make a plane fly, or microwave my burrito: on one end of the scale are the things that have never worked (like prayer) and on the other end are the things that have always worked (like science).

      And when we are deciding what we are going to do to cure someone’s cancer, should we go with the thing that has never worked or should we go with the thing that works most of the time? Hmmm, I wonder which.

    • Baal

      oh hai! /wave at evertontroll
      I’m calling you a troll because all you do is post questions and so no sign of understanding the answers folks give you. Regardless of that, how are you supposing wishes (prayers), (minute chemical and electrical changes in your brain) could have any impact whatsoever somewhere outside your brain?

    • Steve

      So you’ve been banned from Friendly Atheist for being an inhuman asshole and now you’re trolling here instead?

      • Baal

        I’m sure he’ll make the rounds to all the more obvious atheist blogs with his endless glee at making really bad arguments based on flawed logic and misuse of grammar.

        • Evertonian Calvinist

          Hi Baal… I remember you. All I have to do with you is let you talk and you provide the proof of my arguement. Check this out: You just accused me of using “flawed logic”. In order for you to call my logic “flawed”, by neccessity, you have to be appealing to some correct standard of logic. Are you appealing to an absolute law of logic? Given your atheistic worlview, how can you account for this standard of logic that you appealed to condemn my logic as “flawed”? Baal.. let me give you a hint: Don’t respond to this. Let some of the more clever atheist respond. You’ve already given me too much rope.

          • Acn

            Lawl wut?

          • Logan

            Uhm, you know, there kinda IS such a thing as a science of Logic, which studies the methods and modes of reasoning, and helps to tell a reasonable argument from a load of profound bullshit. I strongly suggest you take a look at it – you might find out why your “argument” is actually a logical fallacy called “argument from ignorance” and is worth as much as the reply to it (that is “Lawl wut?” above)

          • Loqi

            “You’ve already given me too much rope.”
            That’s…strangely appropriate, since the saying is “given me enough rope to hang myself with”, and you just demonstrated yourself to be completely ignorant to how logic works in your response.

          • phantomreader42

            All presuppositionalists are child-molesting serial killers who drown puppies and set kittens on fire for fun. This claim is absolute, unquestionable truth, and no evidence is ever required to support it, since presuppositionalism consists of nothing more than pulling idiotic shit out of one’s ass and insisting that it is absolute, unquestionable truth while denying the very concept of evidence.

      • Anonymous

        Steve… Yes.
        The “tolerant free-thinkers” over at the Friendly Atheist banned me because the thoughts being produced by chemical reactions in my brain tissue did not comport with the thoughts being randomly produced in their heads. They made some kind of a moral judgement based upon some subjective standard to say I am banned. I think they used the same arbitray standard you just used to call me an “asshole”. Verrrrry innconsitent Steven.

      • Evertonian Calvinist

        Steve… Yes.
        The “tolerant free-thinkers” over at the Friendly Atheist banned me because the thoughts being produced by chemical reactions in my brain tissue did not comport with the thoughts being randomly produced in their heads. They made some kind of a moral judgement based upon some subjective standard to say I am banned. I think they used the same arbitray standard you just used to call me an “asshole”. Verrrrry innconsitent Steven.

      • Evertonian Calvinist

        Steve… Yes.
        The “tolerant free-thinkers” over at the Friendly Atheist banned me because the thoughts being produced by chemical reactions in my brain tissue did not comport with the thoughts being randomly produced in their heads. They made some kind of a moral judgement based upon some subjective standard to say I am banned. I think they used the same arbitray standard you just used to call me an “asshole”. Verrrrry innconsistent Steven.

        • Steve

          You got banned because you’re an emotionless, insufferable, assholeish douchecanoe (but then you’re a Calvinist, so that’s a given). When someone asks for advice on how to deal with his father’s suicide you don’t tell them that they need to find god or try to convert them to your shitty religion.

          • Ted Thompson

            Douchecanoe. Lol. Periodpaddleboat? Menstrualmotorboat?

          • DSimon

            Semencatamaran. Crapclipper. Fuckdreadnought. Dumbassyacht.

          • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

            Fuckdreadnought might be the most awesome word I’ve ever encountered.

          • IslandBrewer

            Totally appropriating “Fuckdreadnought”. Hope you don’t mind.

        • Brad1990

          Oh, it was Friendly Atheist who banned you, that’s right. Also, chemical reactions are not random. Every time you open your mouth (metaphorically, of course, since in reality you are moving your fingers) you reveal your complete lack of knowledge on pretty much every front.

    • Brad

      “Are you guys absolutely certain that prayer doesn’t work?”

      Yes. I thought you got banned?

  • smrnda

    Given the claims made about prayer, there’s no way to investigate whether prayer ‘works’ the way we check if other things work. The better the means we have of checking something, the more confident we can be that it works.

    If I want to know if a medication works, I’d like to see results from a double-blind study that shows it’s more effective than any alternatives or a placebo. Nobody knows who is getting what, and so observer bias and the placebo effect can be more or less ruled out.

    The problem with prayer is that a person will say ‘you have to believe in it for it to work.’ If something works, believing in it shouldn’t matter – if I believe a pill works, the double-blind study will show if it does or doesn’t. If a person who believes in the power of prayer, anything working towards the desired outcome is seen as proof, but anything working against the desired outcome isn’t seen as proof it doesn’t work.

    So my question, how would we test to see if prayer works? How could the statement ‘prayer works’ be falsified? Believers tend to argue that no amount of unanswered prayers show it doesn’t work, which means it’s not really open to empirical investigation. I really only bother with things that are open to empirical evidence, so that’s why I don’t believe it works.

    • Steve

      There was a study where they divided hospital patients into two groups. One was being prayed for and the other not. I think the one who was prayed for was told about it. They actually ended up doing a bit worse.

      • JohnH

        That seems like a poor set up; They should have split it into four groups; one group told they were being prayed for and then not prayed for, one told they were being prayed for and were, one told they weren’t being prayed for and then were prayed for, and one told they weren’t and weren’t. That way it would be possible to separate out any effects of being told you were prayed for vs. any possible effects of actually being prayed for.

        • smrnda

          Yes, that would have been a much better design.

      • Loqi

        It was actually three groups. Not prayed for and not told, prayed for and not told, and prayed for and told. “Not prayed for” and “prayed for and not told” had similar results, while “prayed for and told” came out worse.

    • Matti

      “Believers tend to argue that no amount of unanswered prayers show it doesn’t work”

      I’d say such believers aren’t entirely (or at all, really) clear on what it means for something to “work”.

  • peicurmudgeon

    Prayer works to keep gargoyles and demons from attacking.

  • InvincibleIronyMan

    Pray until a magic “E” appears to correct your spelling :)

  • smrnda

    I’m actually willing to take on the point about ‘how do you know anything?’ from EvertonianCalvinist. Part of this reason is that I’m in the business of creating computer programs that make predictions. Of course, they aren’t always right, but I can make a lot of money on a program that is right 90% of the time. A prediction right 50% of the time would be useless to anyone.

    In my line of work, predictions are usually made with some kind of value assigned to our confidence that they are correct, so you might say that in any case, we have varying degrees of certainty that certain conclusions are true or false. There might be highly implausible possibilities that we cannot disprove, but it can also be useless to really concern ourselves with them *unless* new evidence comes up that increases the possibility of their being true.

    On logic, logic is a formal system that (to some extent) can be used to describe reality. So far, the idea that a well-defined statement can be either true or false but not both seems to be a pretty reliable conclusion to draw. (I am leaving out the possibility that the statement is neither true nor false, or cannot be determined.) You can’t even investigate truth claims of any sort unless you have some idea that things are either true or not, and this would hold in a universe either with or without any sort of god. I mean, you can’t investigate claims about a god without a notion of ‘true’ or ‘false’ to begin with, so I’d say they are pretty safe assumptions.

    Plus, all sorts of categories defy absolute definitions but are still coherent. We can talk of a a hydrogen atom and a hydrogen atom would be the same no matter what we thought, but a ‘horror movie’ is something we kind of define through social consensus, the same way an arse-hole would be defined.

  • Dread Weasel

    Looks like the nails split the wood, should have used screws.