If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
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24-02-2015, 07:05 AM (This post was last modified: 24-02-2015 08:18 AM by WindyCityJazz.)
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
The whole notion that a god helps people who pray to him is incredibly conceited. He obviously doesn't answer ALL prayers, so that obviously means that some people are more special in his eyes than others. "God helped my team win a football game, while some lady whose child was kidnapped has not seen her child come home. I'm so glad my football game was more important to him! Isn't God great?" Pardon me if I find that a bit fucked up.

BTW doesn't the whole "I got what I prayed for" go against the whole "God's divine plan" crap? If they get what they want they credit it to their god answering their prayers. If they don't get what they prayed for, the just say "It wasn't in God's plan". Well, if your god has a divine plan, then what the fuck does it matter whether you pray or not? Is your god just going to change his divine plan for every pissant with a prayer? It's completely contradictory. But why would I expect logic from a creationist?

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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24-02-2015, 07:16 AM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(24-02-2015 12:58 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  Or an overnight growth of voluntarily controlled ear flaps that work like eyelids to shut distracting noise off.

I want that. Now. Damn evolution....

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
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24-02-2015, 01:16 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(23-02-2015 01:55 PM)Nurse Wrote:  Ok, I think it's been long enough for me to share this story.

I had a post op cardiac patient in a-fib (irregular heart rhythm). He had a syncopal episode (passed out) on the step down unit, so they sent him to my unit to be more closely observed. His a-fib was a controlled rate between 90-110, his blood pressure was normal, ejection fraction about 50%, so he was fine. We tried to cardiovert him twice (shock into a normal sinus rhythm) and had him on an amiodarone drip, we had basically decided oh well he'll go home with PO (by mouth) amiodarone and warfarin for anticoagulation.

Surgery leaves you constipated. It had been six days since my patient had taken a shit. He decided he needed to take a dump - I got him a bedside commode so I could leave him on the monitor since he had passed out while on the step down unit. I didn't want to miss anything. When you bare down, you can stimulate the vagus nerve, effectively lowering your heart rate. It's called a vagal maneuver. So here's my patient, straining, basically giving birth to a ten pound shit (I shoulda looked for Jesus's face in it), and he converts to a normal sinus rhythm.

Right before he converted, he had said "Lord have mercy." He told me this is what his mother with Alzheimer's said two minutes before she died. He was convinced that god dunnit and that it was proof The Lord is alive and well and answers prayers. He even tried to proselytize to me and asked me if I believed in god, I lied and said yes - he was on a roll and I didn't want to rain on his poop parade.

I had fun telling everyone on the unit that my patient's shit was a religious experience.

If I was being kindly spoken, Nurse, I'd tell you that prayer helps when one is constipated. If I was being vindictive, I'd tell you that G_d sent an atheist to catch a Christian's... no, let's not go there!

Didn't you ever here that there are no atheists when it comes to the porcelain god? "Oh God (!) [vomiting into the bowl], I swear, I'll never drink too much again if you just [vomits again] let me feel better... "

But seriously, I appreciate your being in a helping profession, I just find the story "off". So someone was in pain and they praised the Lord for helping them and a loved one formerly in pain so now it's a funny story to you? I don't get it.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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24-02-2015, 01:18 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(24-02-2015 07:05 AM)WindyCityJazz Wrote:  The whole notion that a god helps people who pray to him is incredibly conceited. He obviously doesn't answer ALL prayers, so that obviously means that some people are more special in his eyes than others. "God helped my team win a football game, while some lady whose child was kidnapped has not seen her child come home. I'm so glad my football game was more important to him! Isn't God great?" Pardon me if I find that a bit fucked up.

BTW doesn't the whole "I got what I prayed for" go against the whole "God's divine plan" crap? If they get what they want they credit it to their god answering their prayers. If they don't get what they prayed for, the just say "It wasn't in God's plan". Well, if your god has a divine plan, then what the fuck does it matter whether you pray or not? Is your god just going to change his divine plan for every pissant with a prayer? It's completely contradictory. But why would I expect logic from a creationist?

Again, G_d is Father, so we can fix what you've written to:

"The whole notion that a parent helps his children who ask him to favor them is incredibly conceited. He obviously doesn't answer ALL requests, so that obviously means that some children are more special in his eyes than others."

Is that what it means when a parent says yes and at other times, no, to help a child grow, learn and experience joy?

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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24-02-2015, 03:13 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(24-02-2015 01:18 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 07:05 AM)WindyCityJazz Wrote:  The whole notion that a god helps people who pray to him is incredibly conceited. He obviously doesn't answer ALL prayers, so that obviously means that some people are more special in his eyes than others. "God helped my team win a football game, while some lady whose child was kidnapped has not seen her child come home. I'm so glad my football game was more important to him! Isn't God great?" Pardon me if I find that a bit fucked up.

BTW doesn't the whole "I got what I prayed for" go against the whole "God's divine plan" crap? If they get what they want they credit it to their god answering their prayers. If they don't get what they prayed for, the just say "It wasn't in God's plan". Well, if your god has a divine plan, then what the fuck does it matter whether you pray or not? Is your god just going to change his divine plan for every pissant with a prayer? It's completely contradictory. But why would I expect logic from a creationist?

Again, G_d is Father, so we can fix what you've written to:

"The whole notion that a parent helps his children who ask him to favor them is incredibly conceited. He obviously doesn't answer ALL requests, so that obviously means that some children are more special in his eyes than others."

Is that what it means when a parent says yes and at other times, no, to help a child grow, learn and experience joy?

Actually, we can fix that for you: "While some children grow up in loving families, God chooses to have some of his children grow up in homes where they are sexually abused in order to help them grow up, learn and experience joy."

Well, then your god is totally fucked up, and only a worthless piece of shit would would sit by and do nothing while a child grows up being sexually abused and do nothing, even though they have the power to stop it from happening.

“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” - Mark Twain
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24-02-2015, 03:43 PM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(24-02-2015 01:16 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  But seriously, I appreciate your being in a helping profession, I just find the story "off". So someone was in pain and they praised the Lord for helping them and a loved one formerly in pain so now it's a funny story to you? I don't get it.

You must not know any nurses. Humor is a coping mechanism. If nurses were serious and didn't crack jokes about the crap we encounter we'd be hanging ourselves left and right. Not to mention, I reaaally resent the fact that I went to college so that I could help people shit, since RNs are rarely afforded the luxury of aids these days. So I'm going to laugh about that kind of stuff to help with the anger and frustration.

And yes, my patient straining for a shit and converting to NSR and thinking god dunnit when there is a simple medical explanation- that's funny shit. He preached to me for ten minutes, and then the NP for 15. I really didn't have time for that nonsense. That's 25 mins I could have spent charting or taking a legitimate lunch break - I typically work 14 hour shifts when I'm scheduled for 12.5, so I get a little irritated when people waste my time.

I didn't think his mom dying was funny. I was actually quite empathetic while he told me about it - my charge nurse tried to come in and tell me something while he was sharing and I waved him off. It would have been poor bedside manner and a therapeutic communication fail to have done otherwise. I kept my mouth shut about how ridiculous the thought that saying "lord have mercy" while having a bowel movement caused divine intervention. Rather egotistical to think god cares about a man taking a dump when we have other patients on the unit dying and their prayers going unanswered. Where was god for the mother in her early 20s down the hall when she began having complications from her BiVADs, got removed from the heart transplant list, and died after being on our unit for MONTHS? Oh. That's right. There is no god. Shit happens.

"If there's a single thing that life teaches us, it's that wishing doesn't make it so." - Lev Grossman
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25-02-2015, 06:54 AM (This post was last modified: 25-02-2015 06:58 AM by Deltabravo.)
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
I don't think the OP's position is valid. It is based on one particular view of what "prayer" is about.

There could be a scientific basis for saying that certain types of "praying" are beneficial, but not necessarily that prayer results in the intervention of a being who inhabits a metaphysical world and comes to our aid.

For instance, take the effect of meditation on the amygdala: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3485650/

The conclusion of this study is:
"In this study, 8 weeks of training in two different forms of meditation yielded distinct changes in amygdala activation in response to emotionally valenced images while the subjects were in an ordinary, non-meditative state. This finding suggests that meditation training may affect emotional processing in everyday life, and not just during meditation. This is consistent with the hypothesis that the cultivation of specific meditative states, which are relatively short-term, can result in enduring changes in mental function, i.e., in the long-term development of certain traits (Slagter et al., 2011). Future research is needed to investigate the longitudinal impact of meditation training on other brain areas involved with affective response, emotion regulation, and attention."

If this is so, then certain types of meditative behaviors may be beneficial to those practicing it, and maybe also to those exposed to it directly, for instance if people were praying in the presence of an ill person. The ancients may have found this effect and attributed it to a god given their lack of brain scanning machines which show the effect of meditation is real: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/gues...our-brain/

Perhaps connected to this idea is that of "Logotherapy". At least it's my view that it is. Christianity has as its "grund norm" the "logos" or "word". I take this to mean "reason" or "purpose". I think the word "reason" is a good one because it has a double meaning; the "reason" for our being, and "reason" as an abstract concept. Christianity then posits the golden rule as its moral focus, ie., do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This, to me, is an expression of reason as a basis upon which to base one's morality and is the same as the categorical imperative which Kant forumlated in his Critique of Pure Reason. I know some would say they are different but they really aren't because the former results in one acting on the basis that rule upon which one acts would be applied to oneself. The rest of Christian moral preaching is in the form of parables, which are merely examples of the operation of this principle. The other stuff in Christianity is there to sell it to people.

Anyway, I digress. Logotherapy is a form of psychotherapy developed by Viktor Frankl who was a psychiatrist and was detained in a Nazi death camp. He was assigned the job of trying to keep fellow inmates from getting depressed as there were a lot of suicides and he developed a method of treating patients by asking them to think about what their "prupose" or "reason" was. If they couldn't think of one he would help them come up with one or would tell them what their purpose was. This purpose or reason he called the "logos" and his method developed, after the war, into the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy. He wrote about his experience in the concentration camp in the book "Man's Search for Meaning". Frankl's own wife was in a different camp and she died without him ever seeing her again. He dealt with this by taking as his own purpose to carry on because his wife would have wanted him to. At the end of the war, the inmates of his camp protected the commandant from being captured by the Allies because they appreciated his humanitarianism. Frankl also came up with the idea of the "Statue of Responsibility" which he said should be built on the West Coast to counter the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast. Here are his credentials: http://www.viktorfrankl.org/e/lifeandwork.html

My point is that if one takes Logos or Word as meaning "purpose" and takes that purpose as being to treat others as one would have them treat oneself, and one also meditated or "prayed" with a focus on these concepts, then maybe there is a scientific basis for saying that it has some neurological effect in the brain. And, maybe, praying for someone else to recover may have beneficial neurological effects for the same reasons.
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25-02-2015, 07:15 AM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(24-02-2015 01:18 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Again, G_d is Father, so we can fix what you've written to:

"The whole notion that a parent helps his children who ask him to favor them is incredibly conceited. He obviously doesn't answer ALL requests, so that obviously means that some children are more special in his eyes than others."

Is that what it means when a parent says yes and at other times, no, to help a child grow, learn and experience joy?

OK -- listen up Zippy ---

I don't know who's been filling your pointy little head with nonsense -- but the "G_d"
bit is the most uninformed, unthinking bit of shit you've tossed out to date.


"God" is not the "unspeakable name" of god..... "God" is a generic term. "Thou shalt have no gods before me". You think it means "Thou shall have no me before me"??????

YHVH is the "unspeakable name" you're mistakenly referring to.....

"God" is the name of MY God, indeed....

Quit being such a sanctimonious twit.

You don't get to take claim to generics - that's why they're generic.

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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25-02-2015, 07:43 AM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(25-02-2015 06:54 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  My point is that if one takes Logos or Word as meaning "purpose" and takes that purpose as being to treat others as one would have them treat oneself,

You can come to the conclusion that "the golden rule" is a reasonably good base for you morality and actions without needing any externally imposed "purpose". There's no need for the "Logos" at all.

Quote:and one also meditated or "prayed" with a focus on these concepts, then maybe there is a scientific basis for saying that it has some neurological effect in the brain.

As a form of meditation, I don't think many would claim that it can't have personal benefit for the person doing the praying. Of course, if they are doing mostly intercessory prayers the inconsistent results may cause some discomfort until they get good enough at rationalizing the failures.

Quote:And, maybe, praying for someone else to recover may have beneficial neurological effects for the same reasons.

The only example you give is people "exposed to it directly" and that just boils down to them being in a relaxed environment which could easily be beneficial. There is no evidence that praying remotely for somebody helps and the study quoted earlier in the thread showed that people who knew they were in that position actually did worse.

My objection to religious prayer, intercessory or not, is that it is based on an unfounded claim that something external to the person is actually listening. Any benefits found for prayer can be found through other forms of meditation that don't include the woo.

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25-02-2015, 09:44 AM
RE: If Prayer Worked, Science Wouldn't
(25-02-2015 06:54 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  ... take the effect of meditation on the amygdala ...

There's no quarrel that praying affects the person praying.

But I do quarrel with what that affect is: a fraud. People pray for others because they think it's noble to do so, in the same way that genuine sacrifice for another's sake is noble. A person who actually goes out of his way to help another, by giving of himself, in effort, in money, in risk, is noble. A person who gives no effort of any kind but mere thought, or spoken thought, and then has the conceit to think he's done something noble is a cheat, and an especially rancid kind of cheat if prayer is all he does.

If people who pray acknowledged, to themselves and to others, that their prayers were more for their own emotional serenity, and made BECAUSE prayer doesn't cost anything: effortless, costless and riskless, and that feeling noble for it is dishonest, there'd be less harm in it.

But as it is with its false nobility it's very harmful. It erodes incentive to do actual good, actual sacrifice, spend actual money, give actual time, incur actual risk for the sake of another. It corrodes the social bond and fosters selfishness.
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