Just hit your knees

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The just hit your knees argument is that one may come to know god by worshipping him. That is, if a person lives by the teachings of a specific religion, then the benefits of doing so will manifest and the person may know that the religion is therefore true. The expression "just hit your knees" refers to kneeling and praying to God.

"People find praying helps and have had answers. This week you can find out if someone does listen and care. [1]"

In essence, this argument is an appeal to empiricism. The theist is asking the non-believer to engage in an experiment. Try X. If X results in a pleasant outcome, this means that it is a true principle to live by, and therefore this religion is a good one to follow.

Contents

Fallacy of the argument

The fallacy that accompanies this argument is not in the actual theory of the argument, but in practice. When the experiment is carried out, the standard procedure for scientific experiments is not followed. In a scientific experiment, the hypothesis of the experiment must be falsifiable. That is, there must be a null hypothesis.

With this particular experiment, the test hypothesis should be "This religion is true" and the null hypothesis should be "This religion is false". When the experiment is performed, if the desired result is not obtained, a theist may often counter with a reason why the experiment went bad. For example, the experimenter did not have enough faith or did not perform the action to a sufficient standard in order for it to be valid. However, the conclusion in the case of a failed experiment should be that the null hypothesis may actually be the truth.

More generally, the fallacy being committed here is that the conclusion has been reached before the experiment has begun. In religions which promote prayer to a deity or deities, it is often said that every prayer is answered, but that sometimes the answer is "no" or "not yet", and that sometimes the answer is that there is no answer. The fallacy is that any possible outcome is interpreted as a positive result for proving the test hypothesis. There is no conceivable outcome which would imply the null hypothesis--that the religion is not true.

Scientific studies of prayer

This argument claims that one may come to know God by prayer. They separately claim that petitional prayers are answered (Matthew 7:7-8). However, analysis of many medical studies have found "no scientifically discernable effect" between prayer and health outcomes. [2] If prayers are not answered but believers think they are, they may be mistaken about being able to know God by prayer too.

References

  1. Try praying, advice booklet, published by There Is Hope [1]
  2. K. Masters, G. Spielmans, J. Goodson "Are there demonstrable effects of distant intercessory prayer? A meta-analytic review." Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2006 Aug;32(1):21-6. [2]

External links


v · d Arguments for the existence of god
Anthropic arguments   Anthropic principle · Natural-law argument
Arguments for belief   Pascal's Wager · Argument from faith · Just hit your knees
Christological arguments   Argument from scriptural miracles · Would someone die for a lie? · Liar, Lunatic or Lord
Cosmological arguments   Argument from aesthetic experience · Argument from contingency · Cosmological argument · Fine-tuning argument · Kalam · Leibniz cosmological argument · Principle of sufficient reason · Unmoved mover · Why is there something rather than nothing?
Majority arguments   Argumentum ad populum · Argument from admired religious scientists
Moral arguments   Argument from justice · Divine command theory
Ontological argument   Argument from degree · Argument from goodness · Argument from desire · Argument from the origin of the idea of God
Dogmatic arguments   Argument from divine sense · Sensus divinitatis · Argument from uniqueness
Teleological arguments   Argument from design · Banana argument · 747 Junkyard argument · Laminin argument · Argument from natural disasters
Testimonial arguments   Personal revelation · Argument from observed miracles · Argument from personal experience · Consciousness argument for the existence of God · Emotional pleas
Transcendental arguments   God created numbers
Scriptural arguments   Scriptural inerrancy · Scriptural scientific foreknowledge · Scriptural codes
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