Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral during Lent 2008, with boots and dogtags of fallen soldiers Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco during Lent 2008, with boots and dogtags of fallen soldiers walking, searching for eternal truth

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scientific Proof and God

Someone asked what proof I had of God's existence.

I answer the same way I usually do about this question.

Are you asking for the scientific method to be applied to test God's presence? If so, then I doubt I can give a satisfying answer because it's comparing apples to oranges. It's not a good technique in this situation. For example, the scientific method doesn't prove that a song is good, a landscape is serene, or a picture is lovely.

It's not a matter of faith in God's existence. Faith applied in the modern way seems so bizarre. It's as though I'm asked to believe something contrary to scientific evidence. I don't have faith this way. This is faith in antagonism with scientific methodology. My faith is irrespective and independent of scientific methodology because the aforementioned inappropriateness of the test.

Without any testing, however, I witness evidence of God every day.

  • I hear a good song
  • I walk a serene landscape
  • I view a lovely picture

These tests work for me, they matter to me and they give me faith to know that there is something indefinable operating somewhere out there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Health Care "Debate"

I don't understand the current tone of the health care debate. We seem to be debating about whether the government should not participate in the health care business. I thought the point was to discuss US health in general, which is unfortunately short of the mark compared to other advanced economies of the world.

Here are some thoughts that I just wanted to jot down.

  • Many think: Things are fine as is

    I find this to be the sentiment of those with good health care. I accept that, but the selfishness astounds. For those without health care or with inadequate health care, it's a nightmare. They certainly don't seem happy with status quo. As a small business owner, I am also frustrated by the enormous cost of providing health care to myself and my employees. It's not that I don't want to do it, it's just the cost that's so egregious. Moreover, it's disturbing whenever I hear (and I hear it a lot) that people use health care as a decision making factor when looking to change jobs or further their education - that's just downright economically inefficient for a capitalist market.

  • Many think: Keep government out

    This is a legitimate concern. What the current legislation seems to be doing is offering an alternative to the open market in health care. Interestingly, the government does this in other economically vital areas: finance and higher education. Many people in America would not be able to afford homes or finance college without the option of government assistance. Bond markets would not function as effectively if we did not have Treasury bills as alternatives. These instruments are out there and they have not destroyed private lenders or the bond market.

    As such, why is a government option in health care going to kill private industry? It doesn't have to do so and it's wrong to assume that it will.

  • Many think: It will cost too much

    Yes it will. Quite a bit. But currently, when you consider the number of people who are not receiving adequate health care, what is the true cost to the economy, much less our faithful hearts? The cost is currently quite high. Conservative estimates put the uninsured (not the under-insured) at 20% of the working population. If that 20% were healthier they would and could be more productive.

    Imagine a minuscule 2% improvement in productivity from these folks (one week more productivity in a year due to access to medical advice and medication). That means a 0.4% increase in GNP alone just in labor productivity. We're talking a $57 billion dollar improvement on a $14.3 trillion (2008) economy.

    I'm no economist and I simplify outrageously, but it seems like we can afford at least this amount as a reasonable investment.

  • We aren't talking about alternatives any more

    If the status quo isn't sufficient, have we really exhausted alternatives? If the idea is to use the government to combine millions of the uninsured into a huge insurance pool, then why aren't there significant private offerings. Why can't the government subsidize or encourage that?

  • People hate insurance companies

    Insurance companies have to keep the costs low and have to assume that people are cheating the system. Consequently, people hate the perceived run-around for payments to the health care system.

    The government isn't rushing out to hire doctors. They're out to offer an alternative to insurance companies. That does mean that they open themselves up to the ire and vitriol held for insurance companies. Why on earth would they want that ? Only those "on a mission" to do something would want that...

  • Tax us equally

    I'm a small business owner. Big companies have great deductions but not me. Level the playing field. Either tax the big companies, tax the people receiving the benefits or give me an equal deduction or credit to offer these benefits.

That's all for now. I hope people believe that it's a moral responsibility to care for those who cannot do so. Given that basic moral stand, there are many ways of meeting this obligation, but we repeatedly fall short and have not yet succeeded. I pray that should people agree these two statements, we can further the debate in an atmosphere of constructive problem-solving rather than acrimony and finger-pointing.