I came across a post on the Propser blog, which blogs the new peer-to-peer lending industry that I have some involvement in; but can’t talk about, yet. Anyway, the poster linked to this post at "freemoneyfinance" and here’s my comment among the many others:
This is a pretty classic example of selection bias. You pay attention and talk to the successful people who happen to tithe. Those who live in trailer parks and blow everything on the local evangelist or television kind, or old laddies who blow theirs and their late husband’s life savings are generally outside your sphere of attention.
100,000 people go to a self improvement seminar. There, they are shown slides and told stories of people who took big risks and came out on top. The message: to be successful, you’re going to have to take risks. 10,000 take the message to heart, they mortgage the house, invest in a business, and 9,995 loose it all. At the next self improvement seminar, the five who made it big have their pictures up, and their stories are told. Selection bias.
It’s also a reversal of cause & effect. People tithe because the vast majority of those who do can afford to do it. They don’t have money because they tithe.
Occam’s razor, anyone? (Wikipedia has a good entry on that, if you’re not sure what it means.)
I just love doing that. Many people are ignorant about this stuff, but the "praise the lord" Christians seem to walk around with huge targets on their foreheads. And, I just hate to see others taken in by such outright fraud, ignorant as they may be. If you want to give to a church or an abortion clinic, be my guest. But don’t fall for the bullshit that a made-for-adults Santa Claus may rain down gifts upon you.
Don’t be fucking stupid.