prayer debunked
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19-02-2015, 08:26 PM
prayer debunked
Everyone has heard my ramblings about the disproven "power of prayer" and I remember this study, and just referenced it for a post in another Atheist forum a minute ago, and thought I would share..

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Intercessory prayer is widely believed to influence recovery from illness, but claims of benefits are not supported by well-controlled clinical trials. Prior studies have not addressed whether prayer itself or knowledge/certainty that prayer is being provided may influence outcome. We evaluated whether (1) receiving intercessory prayer or (2) being certain of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with uncomplicated recovery after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

METHODS:
Patients at 6 US hospitals were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: 604 received intercessory prayer after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; 597 did not receive intercessory prayer also after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; and 601 received intercessory prayer after being informed they would receive prayer. Intercessory prayer was provided for 14 days, starting the night before CABG. The primary outcome was presence of any complication within 30 days of CABG. Secondary outcomes were any major event and mortality.

RESULTS:
In the 2 groups uncertain about receiving intercessory prayer, complications occurred in 52% (315/604) of patients who received intercessory prayer versus 51% (304/597) of those who did not (relative risk 1.02, 95% CI 0.92-1.15). Complications occurred in 59% (352/601) of patients certain of receiving intercessory prayer compared with the 52% (315/604) of those uncertain of receiving intercessory prayer (relative risk 1.14, 95% CI 1.02-1.28). Major events and 30-day mortality were similar across the 3 groups.

CONCLUSIONS:
Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569567

Big Grin

"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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19-02-2015, 09:55 PM
RE: prayer debunked
This is a good addendum:

Faith Healing Deaths

If dead bodies don't convince you, nothing will.

After reading James Randi's book The Faith Healers I have nothing but disdain for these faith healing con artists, faith healing harms people!
It takes the lowest form of scum to assert that they healed someone and the person that is allegedly healed stops taking their medication and won't see a doctor.

Faith Healing is Fake Healing

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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20-02-2015, 05:05 PM
RE: prayer debunked
How on earth do you establish a non-prayed for control? I'm not sure such a thing is possible. To begin with, how is prayer defined? Prayer could be anything from a single fleetingly thought hope to an all out group revival stomp, but however defined, there'd be no way to prevent it. Those involved in conducting the study may do their best to refrain from praying, even inadvertently or accidentally, but who's to stop outside family and acquaintances from doing what they believe is their utmost to heal a sick friend or family member? How would you persuade Guildford Municipal Baptist to forego their traditional Sunday prayer to "heal everyone afflicted" and every other church around the planet that does the same thing?

I think the only meaningful control variables would be the degree to which a patient believes he's being prayed for, if it could be objectively measured, coupled with the degree to which the patient believes prayer is effective. While informing a patient he's in the prayed for cohort might influence his beliefs about how much praying is actually happening, it doesn't equate to belief.

One could argue, given the putative results that the prayed for group fared worse, that the unprayed for cohort actually received more potent prayer from those who didn't give a fig about the study but just wanted their dearest ones healed who prayed "O Lord, give the ones NOT being prayed for an extra dose, please!"

None of the foregoing is meant as a validation of prayer; I just don't see how it could be scientifically evaluated without being able to control thought. We can't even control our own thoughts, let alone herd others' thoughts.
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20-02-2015, 05:46 PM
RE: prayer debunked
I sometimes imagine what the world would be like if everyone stopped praying and actually did something to help people who are suffering from illness or injury. What if they all became medical professionals or volunteers? The world would be unrecognizable, and in the best possible way.
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20-02-2015, 06:31 PM
RE: prayer debunked
(20-02-2015 05:05 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  How on earth do you establish a non-prayed for control?

But they didn't have a non-prayed for control. They said "may or may not" and just didn't have the group doing the prayer session pray for them. I think the specifics weren't completely divulged here but I'm assuming, like the example in God Delusion, the people performing the prayer were indifferent to the patients. I know what you're saying, that other people may pray for them, but that would be a zero-sum factoid in that all of the people have that same liklihood. This would measure additional prayer, etc.

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20-02-2015, 07:30 PM
RE: prayer debunked
I found the study rather interesting. Lot of grey area, but interesting. Yes

"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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20-02-2015, 08:58 PM
RE: prayer debunked
(20-02-2015 07:30 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  I found the study rather interesting. Lot of grey area, but interesting. Yes

I didn't mean to sound so condemnatory. I applaud the study and others like it as honest search for supernatural influence. It just struck me that in order to do such a study you wouldn't be able to control the target variable - or even define it!

I think the fact that the entire body of validated human knowledge has no "m" for "miracle" in any of its equations and explanations proves prayer and other invocations of the supernatural impotent. Quantum theory is about as bizarre in nature as anything we've found and nowhere within its peculiar labyrinths does an "m" variable fill in for the inexplicable, nor is even postulated.

The body of the whole of validated human knowledge is immense. It's probably infinitesimal against the total knowledge potential, but its scope and diversity is broad enough that I think we'd've bumped into authentic supernaturality by now if it existed, that it isn't still hidden, completely unobserved.

Thus studies to directly prove the effectiveness of prayer may not be necessary - it's already been proven ineffective by the fact that science DOES work, and never needs an "m" in its formulae.
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21-02-2015, 07:52 AM
RE: prayer debunked
(20-02-2015 08:58 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  Thus studies to directly prove the effectiveness of prayer may not be necessary - it's already been proven ineffective by the fact that science DOES work, and never needs an "m" in its formulae.

[Image: math07.gif]

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21-02-2015, 07:54 AM (This post was last modified: 21-02-2015 07:58 AM by TheInquisition.)
RE: prayer debunked
(20-02-2015 08:58 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  
(20-02-2015 07:30 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  I found the study rather interesting. Lot of grey area, but interesting. Yes

I didn't mean to sound so condemnatory. I applaud the study and others like it as honest search for supernatural influence. It just struck me that in order to do such a study you wouldn't be able to control the target variable - or even define it!

I think the fact that the entire body of validated human knowledge has no "m" for "miracle" in any of its equations and explanations proves prayer and other invocations of the supernatural impotent. Quantum theory is about as bizarre in nature as anything we've found and nowhere within its peculiar labyrinths does an "m" variable fill in for the inexplicable, nor is even postulated.

The body of the whole of validated human knowledge is immense. It's probably infinitesimal against the total knowledge potential, but its scope and diversity is broad enough that I think we'd've bumped into authentic supernaturality by now if it existed, that it isn't still hidden, completely unobserved.

Thus studies to directly prove the effectiveness of prayer may not be necessary - it's already been proven ineffective by the fact that science DOES work, and never needs an "m" in its formulae.

I still think my Deity Tester 2.0 is a simple and effective way to measure prayer:

[Image: Deitytester20_zps000c1cdc.jpg]

We could have a million people from different faiths pray to turn a little cardboard disk according to instruction. Though, as you pointed out, if it moved according to instruction, a god moving it would only be one explanation. It just elevates the possibility of a god existing to where measurable effects are verified.

It has already produced demonstrable results, theists declaring how stupid it is and then explaining why THEIR god wouldn't ever do this test. Big Grin

I just need a million dollar research grant to do this. Tongue

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

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21-02-2015, 12:26 PM
RE: prayer debunked
Thanks I've been looking for that link for a while. Also I get the same exact results from praying to my desk lamp as I do praying to God.
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