God’s Protection or Selective Memory Loss?

Cementerio St.Giles-Cambridge from Teresa Marín

Cementerio St.Giles-Cambridge from Teresa Marín

The Miami Herald asks, “Is God protecting Fla. at Gov. Crist’s request?”

According to the story, Crist claims he’s sent little prayer post-its to the Western Wall in Jerusalem each year since his election, and lo and behold, no hurricanes have hit Florida since! Is this proof of the power of prayer?


First, Crist actually says that his first note went to the special holy wall in 2007. Florida’s last major hurricane strike came in 2005. How does he explain 2006’s lack of major strikes? Was it just a coincidental off year (or was the request retroactive)? Yeah, ponder that a moment before buying into this purported cause and effect of prayer/no hurricanes.

Second, let’s look at what the governor actually sent on his little indulgence requests and match it to reality. In his own words, he’s sent the exact same note every year, and it reads, “Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie.”

Ok, so Charlie didn’t exactly ask for “no major hurricane strikes”, did he? No, he begged relief “from storms and other difficulties”. Is that what happened? Not exactly.

More below the fold.

I took five minutes to poke around Google just a bit. In those five minutes, these are some stories I found from the time Governor Charlie Crist first asked his god to protect Florida “from storms and other difficulties”.

February 2, 2007:

A deadly tornado event occurred across the NWS Melbourne County Warning Area within Lake and Volusia Counties during the early morning hours of February 2, 2007. A discontinuous swath of damage was observed from the town of Lady Lake (Lake County) to New Smyrna Beach (Volusia County) – a distance of over 70 miles. A total of 21 fatalities occurred within Lake County.

I’d say that falls under the “storms” part. In that same tornado event, 17 of 18 juvenile whooping cranes being tracked by Operation Migration were killed. Was Governor Crist’s prayer inclusive of only Homo sapiens? (In all fairness to Crist, this may have occurred before his visit. But if we can’t count this as a negative, he can’t count 2006 as a positive.)

January 9, 2008:

( RED HUBER, ORLANDO SENTINEL / January 9, 2008 )
The accident scene at a 70-car pileup with 4 fatalities, that blocked at least 14 miles of Interstate 4 in Polk County on Wednesday, January, 2008.

Surely that would fall under “other difficulties”, right?

August 18 – 24, 2008:

Tropical Storm Fay makes landfall in Florida not once, not twice, not thrice, but a record four times (.pdf)! It’s hard to believe that Governor Crist has so quickly forgotten a storm from last year that caused extensive flooding and “heavy rainfall in excess of 20 in to occur in Brevard County, Florida” alone.

June 9, 2009:

With the rapid death of a 9-year-old-boy from swine flu, health authorities say that people with asthma can be susceptible to attack even if the strain is not virulent.

The boy, who had a history of chronic asthma, had flu symptoms and died a day later. He was Florida’s first swine flu fatality.

That’s some protection agreement you got there, Governor Crist.

“Is God protecting Fla. at Gov. Crist’s request?” No. He is however granting selective memory loss and confirmation bias in abundance, apparently.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Cementerio St.Giles-Cambridge by Teresa Marín and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

5 Responses to “God’s Protection or Selective Memory Loss?”

  1. Dan J Says:

    Doesn’t it always seem to work this way? “I’ve had this St. Christopher medallion on my dashboard since I bought this car and haven’t had a single accident.” Well, unless you count the times they backed into another parked car, or scratched the fender trying to get around that trash dumpster, or got ‘bumped’ from behind on the icy streets last winter, or… You get the idea. So, they haven’t been killed. When/if they are killed, they won’t be there to tell us how their little medallion failed them. Pretty convenient, no? The failures take themselves out of the data loop!

  2. Carnival of the Elitist Bastards XVI | Quiche Moraine Says:

    […] booty and bodies. Lou had his turn with his skeptical view of Governor Crist’s answered prayers for good Florida weather. The captain shuddered as she ordered its internment. She’d been too close to that last storm […]

  3. george.w Says:

    My abnormal psych prof told the story of compulsive behavior. A man is driving down the highway, throwing pieces of paper out the window. Cop pulls him over and says; “What the hell are you doing?” The man replies; “It’s to keep lions away.” Of course the cop replies; “How does throwing bits of paper out the window keep lions away?” and the man replies; “Well you don’t see any lions, do you?”

    Sometimes I wonder if people hold on to religion to keep – something – away, some awful fate that would surely happen if. And like governor Crist, they select outcomes that “prove” it’s so. It really doesn’t inspire confidence in their planning and decision making. Is governor Crist giving as much attention to state disaster planning as he should? Or is he throwing pieces of paper at the wall?

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