A Stick of Butter on the Forehead

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One of the great fallacies in the “food as medicine” mentality is the post hoc fallacy. That fallacy in full is post hoc ergo propter hoc — “after this, therefore because of this.” If B follows A, then A must, so the so-called reasoning goes, be the cause of B.

And of course, since we are eating something all the time — in order to stay alive — then any disease or disorder can easily be attributed to something that preceded it, because some food did precede it. Now of course A might be the cause of B, but for the devotee of whatever food fad it might be, the only evidence that is required is the chronological evidence — did A in fact occur before B?

The same kind of thing applies to cures. “I rubbed a stick of butter on my forehead, and the ache in my knees went away.” Okay, the world is a funny place and I grant it, but let’s do a little more work in the process of elimination, all right?

Beneath all of this is a desire to be in personal control. Our sickness and our health is in the hands of God, and we really don’t really like it there. We would rather have the illusion of control than to trust, really trust, the one who does have control, and to follow His laws in learning how to function as faithful stewards of His with some real effect on the world.

We are like little kids in those little rides at the shopping malls, where the plastic car goes up and down, left and right, and the child turns the steering wheel to no effect, feeling that he is the master of his fate and the captain of his soul. We are faced with an array of electronic euipment that we barely understand, and we would rather twiddle the knobs aimlessly and assign values randomly, than to admit our helplessness and trust God for our health. So we will eat this (twiddle knob A) and assert that that effect over there (blinking lights, say, which were going to blink anyway) was the result. This is not trusting God; it is trusting random forces in the cosmos — which is another way of saying that you are trusting yourself.

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