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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2005 :  03:10:57  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
Apparently some otherwise reasonable organizations are once more pouring money down the rat hole on studies concerning the "Power of Prayer."
quote:
Far-off healing
Many Americans pray for the health of loved ones; others turn to shamans or reiki. Now science is putting these practices to the test.

PRAYER

MEDICAL CARE INDUSTRY PRAYER MEDICAL RESEARCH ALTE

By Hilary E. MacGregor, Times Staff Writer

On an operating table at a medical center in San Francisco, a breast cancer patient is undergoing reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy. But this will be no ordinary surgery. Three thousand miles away, a shamanic healer has been sent the woman's name, a photo and details about the surgery.

For each of the next eight days, the healer will pray 20 minutes for the cancer patient's recovery, without the woman's knowledge. A surgeon has inserted two small fabric tubes into the woman's groin to enable researchers to measure how fast she heals.

The woman is a patient in an extraordinary government-funded study that is seeking to determine whether prayer has the power to heal patients from afar a field known as "distant healing." While that term is probably unfamiliar to most Americans, the idea of turning to prayers in their homes, hospitals and houses of worship is not. In recent years, medicine has increasingly shown an interest in investigating the effect of prayer and spirituality on health. A survey of 31,000 adults released last year by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 43% of U.S. adults prayed for their own health, while 24% had others pray for their health.

Ok, just for the hell of it, let's say that this witchdoctory is actually found to work. What then?

Ah, but the mind boggles with the possibilities.

Hospitals would staff teams of prayer specalists. They wouldn't have to be particularly well educated, just smart and articulate enough to mutter some verse or other from the training manual with their eyes closed.

Prayer firms employing hundreds as well as freelancers would advertise their services on the toob like asprine commercials.

Kneepad sales would skyrocket as all of these, plus private citizens who can't afford a pro, pray for the healing of a client, a relative, a friend, or themselves.

Perhaps there should be prayers specalizing in self-inflicted ailments. This might take a lot of the pain out of such mistakes as needing drug rehab, delirium tremens, and doses of the bullhead clap.

And then there are professional atheletes. These folks often suffer greivious injuries, sometime so debilitating as to put them out of the 'game' for an extended period. Or even perminantly. Their teams would be well advised to have a couple of orthopedic prayer specialists on the coaching staff.

And might it not work both ways? If the afflicted unfortunate should have enemies, and who doesn't, those enemies might hire someone to pray that his colon polyp turns his spincter into a windsock.

And so forth....




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2005 :  04:04:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message
From the Randi commentary of this week.
Bedside Bibles banned from N.B. hospital:
quote:
Stafford said the Fredericton hospital isn't the first in Canada to take away the Bible in the interest of good hygiene.

"Any religion that makes a form of torture into an icon that they worship seems to me a pretty sick sort of religion quite honestly"
-- Terry Jones
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2005 :  07:40:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by filthy

Ok, just for the hell of it, let's say that this witchdoctory is actually found to work. What then?
Then we know that science itself is impractible. If praying can change reality, then there's little point in trying to discover "fundamental" facts about the universe - facts which might change if people pray for them to.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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trishran
Skeptic Friend

USA
196 Posts

Posted - 05/04/2005 :  11:52:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send trishran a Private Message
One thing that really burns me about prayer, is when people credit prayer with the good outcome that was actually the result of human efforts. For example, a person rescued after a long search, thanking God for answering their prayers. How about thanking people who spent their own time slogging around the woods looking for your sorry butt?

A related irritation, when people thank their imaginary friend instead of thanking a person who just did something for them. Example:

Ms. Atheist [seeing a panhandler, fishes in her purse and gets out a dollar] "Hey, man here you go."

Panhandler: God Bless you.

Did I miss something? God may have seen him on the corner with his cardboard sign, but it's the atheist giving him a buck.

trish
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 05/04/2005 :  13:14:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by trishran

One thing that really burns me about prayer, is when people credit prayer with the good outcome that was actually the result of human efforts. For example, a person rescued after a long search, thanking God for answering their prayers. How about thanking people who spent their own time slogging around the woods looking for your sorry butt?

A related irritation, when people thank their imaginary friend instead of thanking a person who just did something for them. Example:

Ms. Atheist [seeing a panhandler, fishes in her purse and gets out a dollar] "Hey, man here you go."

Panhandler: God Bless you.

Did I miss something? God may have seen him on the corner with his cardboard sign, but it's the atheist giving him a buck.


I don't think I've ever heard it put better.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 05/04/2005 :  14:22:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by trishran
Ms. Atheist [seeing a panhandler, fishes in her purse and gets out a dollar] "Hey, man here you go."

Panhandler: God Bless you.

Did I miss something? God may have seen him on the corner with his cardboard sign, but it's the atheist giving him a buck.

This I do not get...

If the panhandler says "God Bless you.", that doesn't really mean "thak you God for your blessing and gift from this stranger" does it?
I thought it was addressed at the stranger, meaning: "Thank you stranger, may God place his blessing upon you and keep you safe".

On the other hand, had the penhandler said "Thank God" then I would understand your irritation. I would have been a bit miffed. God has nothing to do with my kindness to anyone.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 05/04/2005 :  14:36:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by filthy

Ok, just for the hell of it, let's say that this witchdoctory is actually found to work. What then?

Well, this could constitute the long sought after evidence for the existence of god that was discussed in this thread. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so if enough experiments (proper ones) are performed and they show a significant effect, then I would have to change my view regarding the existence of something supernatural. On the other hand, I won't hold my breath. This has been tried before and failed, I think it's reasonable to conclude that it does not work.

These kinds of experiments can be performed ad nauseum, and it will not matter how many negative results are attained - believers will be believers, and more money and effort will be wasted. It seems a bit unfair; no amount of negative evidence will change the true believer, and any positive evidence found (which because of random fluctuation 1 out of 20 will be) will be touted as absolute proof for the existence of your god of choice.

quote:
Prayer firms employing hundreds as well as freelancers would advertise their services on the toob like asprine commercials.

Brilliant. What a cash cow. Start your own business, and the only resource you need is people. So you set this up in some developing county (like wherever Nike makes its stuff) where wages are minimal. You'll be laughing all the way to the bank. You'd of course have to convert all the heathens in this county to christians, but that's been done before.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 05/04/2005 :  15:37:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

quote:
Originally posted by trishran
Ms. Atheist [seeing a panhandler, fishes in her purse and gets out a dollar] "Hey, man here you go."

Panhandler: God Bless you.

Did I miss something? God may have seen him on the corner with his cardboard sign, but it's the atheist giving him a buck.

This I do not get...

If the panhandler says "God Bless you.", that doesn't really mean "thak you God for your blessing and gift from this stranger" does it?
I thought it was addressed at the stranger, meaning: "Thank you stranger, may God place his blessing upon you and keep you safe".

On the other hand, had the penhandler said "Thank God" then I would understand your irritation. I would have been a bit miffed. God has nothing to do with my kindness to anyone.

Doc, it's venacular. As used, the phrases pretty much mean the same thing -- not much of anything. Invoking God in this case is just a suckup. The guy implies that God sent you to him and half expects you to give the greeting back. An irritation either way.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2005 :  01:54:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
I've read every study that has come to my attention claiming to show evidence for prayer's effectiveness. First, there are very few. Second, none had very remarkable results anyway and third, no study with positive results was well done. It is such a simple test, if you pray, does it matter? Turns out it doesn't. Why do so few people bother with that part of the equation?
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GeeMack
SFN Regular

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2005 :  15:44:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send GeeMack a Private Message
When Pope John Paul II was wheezing his last breath a billion people prayed for him, and it didn't keep him alive. So the supernatural beings can obviously ignore prayers if they choose.

Or is a prayer like my secret birthday candle wish to get a puppy dog for a present? The wish was only going to come true if my parents were already going to get me a puppy dog. Which in turn means that the wish itself was useless.

Of course maybe the billion faithful weren't praying for him to live, but were instead praying that he got his ticket to heaven. But wait... did they think the pope, of all people, might not go to heaven? One would have to possess very little faith if they had any doubt about the pope going to heaven.

So maybe prayer doesn't really work, or maybe the faithful aren't really faithful, or both. Okay, these are feeble lines of logic, but might be some fun little bones to toss into a crowd of the "faithful" just to see if they can gnaw any shreds of meat off them.

Greg
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2005 :  01:53:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
When I was in grade school I used to pray the cute guy down the street would fall in love with me. Didn't happen.
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