Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The World’s Greatest Conspiracy

A life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones.

>Roald Dahl

Some years ago as part of my computer science degree I had to follow a module on predicate and propositional logic. Men don’t wear dresses. John is a man. à John doesn’t wear a dress. That sort of stuff.

Anyway, to teach the course, the university had somehow managed to persuade a young yet highly regarded American computer scientist to forgo the pleasures of the capital London and come up to the not so lovely city of Birmingham in central England.

The course went well, and after the final lecture about seven or eight students including myself ended up taking the American computer scientist down to the local pub to teach him a thing or two about English beers. Things naturally progressed, and we ended up in someone’s house smoking stuff.

It was in this enlightened atmosphere that the American told us that there was something he would like to get off his conscious and share with us: a story about his father, a prominent researcher in the States back in the 60s.

His father, the American said, had been involved in a pioneering research project on religion.

The researchers were well funded and did their fieldwork in select countries to cover the world’s largest religions: Poland (Catholicism), India (Hinduism), Pakistan (Islam), Israel (Judaism), and Thailand (Buddhism). Protestantism was not included as its adherents have a poor track record of praying.

The aim of the research was to come up with data that could show that the act of praying had no impact on any observable “data set” such as car accidents, diseases, miscarriages, natural disasters etc. And surprise surprise, after the extensive research had been conducted the researchers had indisputable proof that praying had no observable effect in the real world and that, as this proposition is the basis of religion, religion had been mathematically and statistically proven invalid for the first time in the history of mankind. God doesn’t listen. As simple as that. The researchers formulated their mathematical proofs and a comprehensive paper was prepared.

But before the paper was published in the Scientific American magazine, strong objections were raised by the US intelligence services who claimed that publishing such research would jeopardize national stability, and especially at a time when much of the world had “gone red” (the USSR, Eastern Europe, China, etc). Publishing such findings, said the CIA, would be tantamount to handing the communist atheists an ideological victory on a plate. And even with the communist issue aside, the CIA warned that such explosive research could usher in a period of great instability in the States and elsewhere. The world was simply not ready for this.

The US intelligence services were therefore confident that Kennedy would call for the research to be suppressed. But they were wrong: Kennedy was insistent that the research be published. Thus, distraught at Kennedy’s intransigence, the CIA finally decided to have him assassinated, and in 1963 he was gunned down by a CIA operative while Lee Harvey Oswald - a disturbed but innocent individual - was set up to take the blame. (Lee Harvey Oswald had to be killed as the CIA had overlooked the fact that Oswald’s firearms skills were not good enough to shoot a moving target at such great distance. Ever wondered how Ruby found it so easy to get access to who at the time was undoubtedly the most closely guarded prisoner in the US if not the world?!!)

After Kennedy’s assassination the research findings and supporting data were confiscated and destroyed. University professors in the US were strongly warned not to cover the religion disproven issue else they would be killed. As were publishers and media moguls.

Indeed, so concerned were the CIA on this issue that they forced President Johnson to seal all documents relating to this matter and the Kennedy assassination against public availability for 75 years (until 2039)!!!

Intenet bots that search the World Wide Web for new website updates are now programmed not to include such information in search engines and to immediately notify the authorities if such websites are found so that they can be removed.

This story by the American left us flabbergasted of course. He soon left the university for reasons that were not clear. And we never heard of him again.


Kapitano said...

So the CIA don't grasp why people believe weird things, including religions.

That bit at least makes sense.

Bill Connelly said...

And you believed this guy? The fact that there are dozens of studies into the effects of prayer, didn't make it seem a little unlikely? How about the fact that Scientific American doesn't publish original research?

The abstract of the most recent review of the effects of prayer on health outcomes can be found here: