Why do people pray ?
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05-07-2014, 01:36 PM (This post was last modified: 05-07-2014 03:24 PM by Bucky Ball.)
Why do people pray ?
Is it because intermittent random reinforcement of a behavior is the very best way to reinforce a behavior ?

So my little brother is a natural with all the animals we have. We have a few goats, and sheep. The horses are my mom's business, so they have their own pro people, but he pretty much takes care of all the rest. It's been the thing (we think) that helped bring him out of his autism the most. So I asked him why he gives treats to the baby sheep, my dog, and the goats. He said "Duh", (of course). I asked him if he really knew why "treats" work. He said "Well they like treats". I explained to him the concept of "reinforcement" and told him about "Operant Conditioning" (in words he could understand).

Well if a random intermittent reward is the most powerful way to reinforce a behavior, I guess that must be why Jebus only listens to some prayers.
Crafty fella, that Jebus.

(It's also the reason that absolute cold-turkey is the only way to stop smoking ... intermittently randomly reinforcing a habit is the worst way to try to eradicate it).
(The habit that is, I suppose the nicotine withdrawal meds must work ??)

http://www.intropsych.com/ch05_condition...ement.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinforceme...ent_theory

Yea ? Nay ?

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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05-07-2014, 01:47 PM
RE: Why do people pray ?
Yea,

Although I think there are many more contributive factors to why people pray...
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05-07-2014, 01:52 PM
RE: Why do people pray ?
Depending on to whom one has this conversation, regarding the purpose of prayer, some 'explain' that it's about communicating with their god to understand 'god's plan' whereas others say it's about giving oneself focus to think about the things and people of which one cares.

My muslim and buddhist friends would fall in the latter camp; my christian acquaintances, the former.

Either way, it's what the Brits would put in the category of, "have a word wiv yerself, mate."

I smoke it as I see it.

Drinking Beverage

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05-07-2014, 01:54 PM
RE: Why do people pray ?
I also think repeating familiar phrases and poems releases endorphins (or something chemical), so it's a self-reinforcing thing to do. But yes, I agree there are probably many more reasons.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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05-07-2014, 02:03 PM
RE: Why do people pray ?
(05-07-2014 01:54 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  I also think repeating familiar phrases and poems releases endorphins (or something chemical), so it's a self-reinforcing thing to do. But yes, I agree there are probably many more reasons.

It occurs to me...

Punchline-based comedy might be doing the same thing.

Who didn't manage to get a laugh from their playground peers just by repeating a punchline or a catch-phrase.

This also might explain so many YouTube comments that merely extract a comic line from the vid.




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05-07-2014, 02:04 PM
RE: Why do people pray ?
-Something bad is happening
-It's bugging me
-I don't know what to do, or don't really want to do anything about it
-A celestial genie may or may not exist
-I'll pass it off to the celestial genie via a wish/prayer
-Even a 0.0000000001% of it working, is better than 0% chance
-I feel better for at least doing "something"


That's why people pray. Either to ease their conscious, or they think it actually works.

But another reason is habit. They feel calmer after doing it. Which again falls into the "easing their conscious" category because the result are the same.
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05-07-2014, 02:30 PM
RE: Why do people pray ?
Prayer is the last resort of desperation. Drinking Beverage

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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05-07-2014, 04:17 PM (This post was last modified: 05-07-2014 04:42 PM by evenheathen.)
RE: Why do people pray ?
Well, my keys are actually missing from last night. Tell you what, I'll toss a request up yonder and if they turn up I guess we'll know for sure if it works or not. Thumbsup

Edit: Never mind, found 'em. And forgot to pray. I guess we'll never know now. Weeping

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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05-07-2014, 05:00 PM
RE: Why do people pray ?
"I can't do anything in this situation so I'll pass it on to the big fella upstairs..."
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05-07-2014, 05:07 PM
RE: Why do people pray ?
Great question and I believe I had posted my prayer posit before, but just in case...

I was thinking today....you hear the phrase "power of prayer" often from the faithful...and I was thinking...since there is what....8 billion ppl in the world, and 80%ish purport to believe in a god...so it is probably safe to say that at least 6 billion ppl believe in a god, lets just half that for argument's sake...so the world has 3 billion people that believe in a god, and most likely utter a silent prayer at least once a day..from the mild "please god let me get to work on time", to the frightening "please god dont let him kill me" type prayers. From mild to moderate to fervent, 3 billion people probably utter one prayer a day....just go with it for the moment...so out of those 3 billion daily prayers, how many get answered?

The very few that appear to be answered I posit it is due to the lottery of chance and coincidence. However, if you are the believer who say prayed "oh god let my numbers come in on the lottery pick" (just like every other faithful person who bought a ticket)...and one of those believers wins the lottery...he or she is going to think, Oh my god, he answered my prayer...I am living proof....no, no I say there was 3 billion pulls on the the one armed bandit of prayers game machine and your pull happened to come up with the three lemons.....but the bible says ask and ye shall receive right? for example

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Matthew 7:7)

"Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)

"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." (Mark 11:24)

so think about it this way, the handful of prayers that seem to have been answered is not an indication that prayer works, rather we must look at it from the other angle, why didnt the other 2,999,999,992 ish prayers get answered? To me this is an indication that there is no power of prayer, rather it is just the lottery of chance and coincidence.

Drooling

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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