All scientific studies regarding prayer are fatally flawed
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02-03-2013, 12:00 AM
RE: All scientific studies regarding prayer are fatally flawed
(01-03-2013 11:15 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  
(01-03-2013 08:57 PM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  yes thats right. your god ignores prayers and allows poeple to die horrible deaths because he is pissed that people are testing him. that god sounds like an asshole. but i guess thats consistant with your bronze age war god.
Druid, for some reason when I read your post, I heard the voice of Jim Jefferies speaking every word you wrote.
i never heard of that guy so i checked him out on youtube. fuckers funny.. i will take your comment as a compliment.
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02-03-2013, 01:12 PM
RE: All scientific studies regarding prayer are fatally flawed
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02-03-2013, 01:56 PM
RE: All scientific studies regarding prayer are fatally flawed
(01-03-2013 03:26 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  I often hear atheist claim that scientific studies of prayer show that it doesn't work. I cringe that people actually put faith in studies which are obviously fatally flawed. How do you test God? How do you control that variable?

Easy... you recognize that God's influence is never a "variable".

The way that scientific tests work is to put two nearly identical groups through the same trial, but you change only one thing between the two groups (the variable). If there is a difference between outcomes between the two groups, then you know that the variable is to blame (it is the cause of the effect) because it is literally the only thing that can be blamed... if something besides the variable caused a change in one group, it should cause a similar change in the other group.

So when we look at prayer studies and find that there is no difference between two groups, we infer that prayer is ineffective because it didn't cause a change. The reason that scientists don't "control for God" is because it's assumed that His will (if He exists or exerts a will) is not variable -- it's the same for each group. The major problem with using the "God's will" defense is because it is unknowable at best, and skepticism would cause us to disregard it as easily as we can disregard "Zeus' will" or "Vishnu's will" as variables.

If prayer does have an effect, then it is measurable -- between two groups, there will be an evident change. If God does not show His power when it is being tested, there's no reason to assume that He shows it when He's not being tested. Therefore, in any case, prayer is ineffective.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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02-03-2013, 02:13 PM
RE: All scientific studies regarding prayer are fatally flawed
(01-03-2013 03:26 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  I often hear atheist claim that scientific studies of prayer show that it doesn't work. I cringe that people actually put faith in studies which are obviously fatally flawed. How do you test God? How do you control that variable?

Suppose I am a researcher looking for evidence for the "power of prayer". I ask my participants to pray for a certain group of heart patients. Does God actually consider those prayers to be prayers or merely elements in a "scientific" study? Maybe God has decided he will not be tested and ignores those prayers or maybe he decides to apply the "graces" from those "prayers" to people not under the scrutiny of the researcher.

There is a reason researchers will often keep the true purpose of a study away from the test subjects....they don't want the study to influence the actions of thier subjects. With God that is impossible to do. A researcher studying the power of prayer has to hope that his subject, God, will cooperate in the study...he can't trick God into cooperating.

Scientific studies of prayer are bad science.
Well the studies were done many times with different religious groups and non religious, all come out as being statistically average of random events, whether religious or not. Thats how science works, you cant just test once and base an opinion and call it a FACT off one test.

Arguing with a Christian is a lot like playing chess with a pigeon. You can be the greatest player in the world, yet the pigeon will knock over all the pieces, shit on the board and strut away triumphantly.
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02-03-2013, 02:25 PM
RE: All scientific studies regarding prayer are fatally flawed
(02-03-2013 01:56 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  
(01-03-2013 03:26 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  I often hear atheist claim that scientific studies of prayer show that it doesn't work. I cringe that people actually put faith in studies which are obviously fatally flawed. How do you test God? How do you control that variable?

Easy... you recognize that God's influence is never a "variable".

The way that scientific tests work is to put two nearly identical groups through the same trial, but you change only one thing between the two groups (the variable). If there is a difference between outcomes between the two groups, then you know that the variable is to blame (it is the cause of the effect) because it is literally the only thing that can be blamed... if something besides the variable caused a change in one group, it should cause a similar change in the other group.

So when we look at prayer studies and find that there is no difference between two groups, we infer that prayer is ineffective because it didn't cause a change. The reason that scientists don't "control for God" is because it's assumed that His will (if He exists or exerts a will) is not variable -- it's the same for each group. The major problem with using the "God's will" defense is because it is unknowable at best, and skepticism would cause us to disregard it as easily as we can disregard "Zeus' will" or "Vishnu's will" as variables.

If prayer does have an effect, then it is measurable -- between two groups, there will be an evident change. If God does not show His power when it is being tested, there's no reason to assume that He shows it when He's not being tested. Therefore, in any case, prayer is ineffective.
A normal prayer is a solemn request to God for help or thanks. The prayers in the studies are different because they are also elements of a scientific study. In order for the study to be used as meaningful evidence against the power of normal prayers, the researchers would have to secure God's cooperation that He will treat elements of a scientific study the same way He treats normal prayers. Prayer studies change at least two variables, one of which is the nature of the prayer itself. That is why they are fundamentally flawed.
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02-03-2013, 02:34 PM (This post was last modified: 02-03-2013 02:47 PM by StorMFront.)
RE: All scientific studies regarding prayer are fatally flawed
(02-03-2013 02:25 PM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(02-03-2013 01:56 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  Easy... you recognize that God's influence is never a "variable".

The way that scientific tests work is to put two nearly identical groups through the same trial, but you change only one thing between the two groups (the variable). If there is a difference between outcomes between the two groups, then you know that the variable is to blame (it is the cause of the effect) because it is literally the only thing that can be blamed... if something besides the variable caused a change in one group, it should cause a similar change in the other group.

So when we look at prayer studies and find that there is no difference between two groups, we infer that prayer is ineffective because it didn't cause a change. The reason that scientists don't "control for God" is because it's assumed that His will (if He exists or exerts a will) is not variable -- it's the same for each group. The major problem with using the "God's will" defense is because it is unknowable at best, and skepticism would cause us to disregard it as easily as we can disregard "Zeus' will" or "Vishnu's will" as variables.

If prayer does have an effect, then it is measurable -- between two groups, there will be an evident change. If God does not show His power when it is being tested, there's no reason to assume that He shows it when He's not being tested. Therefore, in any case, prayer is ineffective.
A normal prayer is a solemn request to God for help or thanks. The prayers in the studies are different because they are also elements of a scientific study. In order for the study to be used as meaningful evidence against the power of normal prayers, the researchers would have to secure God's cooperation that He will treat elements of a scientific study the same way He treats normal prayers. Prayer studies change at least two variables, one of which is the nature of the prayer itself. That is why they are fundamentally flawed.
How about you give us a good example of a prayer to use that would save terminally ill patients in a hospitals. We could then use that prayer on half of them (with faithful people of your choosing) and see if that prayer actually works. Statically, over several different hospitals we should be able to determining if the law of random chance is being affected by your prayer. Since, you know what god can do and cant do.

Arguing with a Christian is a lot like playing chess with a pigeon. You can be the greatest player in the world, yet the pigeon will knock over all the pieces, shit on the board and strut away triumphantly.
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02-03-2013, 02:37 PM
RE: All scientific studies regarding prayer are fatally flawed
(02-03-2013 02:34 PM)StorMFront Wrote:  
(02-03-2013 02:25 PM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  A normal prayer is a solemn request to God for help or thanks. The prayers in the studies are different because they are also elements of a scientific study. In order for the study to be used as meaningful evidence against the power of normal prayers, the researchers would have to secure God's cooperation that He will treat elements of a scientific study the same way He treats normal prayers. Prayer studies change at least two variables, one of which is the nature of the prayer itself. That is why they are fundamentally flawed.
How about you give us a good example of a prayer to use that would save terminally ill patients in a hospitals. We could then use that prayer on half of them (with faithful people over your choosing) and see if that prayer actually works. Statically, over several different hospitals we should be able to determining if the law of random chance is being effected by your prayer. Since, you know what god can do and cant do.


I think you are missing the OP's point. The studies are flawed if God refuses to be tested.
God won't answer the prayers in the study, so there is no statistical difference between groups.

This is logical if God cares more about His pride than about people's welfare. What a dick.

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02-03-2013, 02:37 PM
RE: All scientific studies regarding prayer are fatally flawed
(02-03-2013 02:25 PM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  A normal prayer is a solemn request to God for help or thanks. The prayers in the studies are different because they are also elements of a scientific study. In order for the study to be used as meaningful evidence against the power of normal prayers, the researchers would have to secure God's cooperation that He will treat elements of a scientific study the same way He treats normal prayers. Prayer studies change at least two variables, one of which is the nature of the prayer itself. That is why they are fundamentally flawed.
If God is actually existent and in control of everything, then wouldn't scientific studies themselves be impossible because God could change the outcomes always?

Take your bias out of the equation. I mentioned "Zeus' will" and "Vishnu's will" to make a point -- you can't control for things that someone assumes are there but can't be measured. Anyone could deny the results of any study of anything based on assumptions that Zeus or Vishnu were responsible for "fixing" the results.

Here's a great example of prayer not working -- Jesus' prayer at Gethsemane. One ought to assume that Jesus knew how to pray properly. Also, because Jesus is assumed to be God, it logically follows that God wanted what Jesus wanted... to "have this cup passed from him" (to not have to die). But Jesus' prayer was not answered -- he died. This may be only one mere example of prayer failing to work, but Christians claim that it "always" works, and therefore they still have to account for it.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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02-03-2013, 06:42 PM
RE: All scientific studies regarding prayer are fatally flawed
This question should not even have to be answered from an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnimalevolent being. Such a being would not care, nor would it have a need for praise, as it would know all from beginning to end before it actually happened.

That is the Christian God, so why would anyone (especially a person living in the 21st century, care?)
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02-03-2013, 07:44 PM
RE: All scientific studies regarding prayer are fatally flawed
(02-03-2013 02:25 PM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(02-03-2013 01:56 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  Easy... you recognize that God's influence is never a "variable".

The way that scientific tests work is to put two nearly identical groups through the same trial, but you change only one thing between the two groups (the variable). If there is a difference between outcomes between the two groups, then you know that the variable is to blame (it is the cause of the effect) because it is literally the only thing that can be blamed... if something besides the variable caused a change in one group, it should cause a similar change in the other group.

So when we look at prayer studies and find that there is no difference between two groups, we infer that prayer is ineffective because it didn't cause a change. The reason that scientists don't "control for God" is because it's assumed that His will (if He exists or exerts a will) is not variable -- it's the same for each group. The major problem with using the "God's will" defense is because it is unknowable at best, and skepticism would cause us to disregard it as easily as we can disregard "Zeus' will" or "Vishnu's will" as variables.

If prayer does have an effect, then it is measurable -- between two groups, there will be an evident change. If God does not show His power when it is being tested, there's no reason to assume that He shows it when He's not being tested. Therefore, in any case, prayer is ineffective.
A normal prayer is a solemn request to God for help or thanks. The prayers in the studies are different because they are also elements of a scientific study. In order for the study to be used as meaningful evidence against the power of normal prayers, the researchers would have to secure God's cooperation that He will treat elements of a scientific study the same way He treats normal prayers. Prayer studies change at least two variables, one of which is the nature of the prayer itself. That is why they are fundamentally flawed.

A deity has no reason to not treat prayers of a scientific study the same way as he treats normal prayers. In fact, the best outcome is for him to do so.

Let's assume a deity exists, and he does so, and there's a statistical significance of p<0.0001 that prayers works for some reason. The results are peer-reviewed, replicated, and confirmed. Now, by doing this, that deity effectively confirms his/her/its existence, and gains a whole lot of believers as a result. That's one of the easiest way to "bring salvation" to humanity, compared to the cross thing. Hey, at least it's a belief based on evidence.

Now, if we assume that the deity decides to get cocky (something about humans testing him), and decided not to do so, we get the results we have today, no statistical significance. By doing this, the deity effectively creates doubt among the humans regarding his/her/its existence. Now, you might say that the deity wants to really find the few who unquestioningly believe in him/her/it. That pretty much shows the nature of this deity as well, which in this day and age will not be beneficial for the deity.

Thus, logically and ideally, the best outcome is to actually treat prayers of a scientific study the same way as normal prayers. Unless, you claim that your deity does not use the logic of this plane, which explains a lot actually on why the world is so screwed up.

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