Study fails to show healing power of prayer

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Royal Pineapple, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. Royal Pineapple macrumors 65816

    Royal Pineapple

    #1
    Study fails to show healing power of prayer

    Emphasis mine
     
  2. cc bcc macrumors 6502

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    #2
    I guess that's the power of hope vs surrender. Giving up because it's out of your hands for sure.
     
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #3
    Mmmm, I guess this study is good in the sense that they applied this intervention to individuals who were predominantly Christian... it seemed like only about 10% were not Catholic or Protestant Christians. But it seems like... I dunno. Being told that your name has been given to strangers, and that you are being prayed for by strangers who are not even necessarily of your denomination or in any other way connected to you.... I dunno. I think there are ecological validity issues here that mask the positive effects people experience when this prayer has a stronger social support component to it.

    EDIT: Fix grammar. :eek:
     
  4. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #4
    "In fact, the study found some of the patients who knew they were being prayed for did worse than others who were only told they might be prayed for -- though those who did the study said they could not explain why."

    Why? 'Cause the ones who did worse were in more physical-health trouble than others, that's why.

    "The Power of Prayer" is another one of those deals for which nobody will ever have a definitive answer. IMNSHO, FWIW. :)

    It seems to me that it's equally rational to figure the Lord got fed up with all that noise. Who knows?

    'Rat
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #5
    On which physical health variable? They seemed pretty well matched groups to me... I didn't see a lot of evidence of a failure of randomization in this experiment.
     
  6. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #6
    Are you insinuating that fundamentalists or evangelicals are better Christians? Or that only one who professes your individual brand of religion is able to help you? I'm confused, help me out here.

    As far as your ecological validity is concerned, then isn't sort of counter productive for people to be praying for the troops in Iraq or starving souls in Ethiopia? If you are unable to influence your god when it comes to someone from your own church or sect, what chance do you have of influencing someone of a different religion who is halfway around the world?

    I will grant the power of the individual to impact his own health. I've seen too many cases for me to doubt it, but collective bargaining with a god seems a little "out there" if you know what I mean. Instead of wasting so much time and energy in prayer and in church, maybe what most people need is to get off their hiney's and physically do something about the problems in the world.
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #7
    Confused, or angry? Wow. :(

    What I am implying is that people will perceive prayer from people who are like themselves more positively than prayer from people who are not like themselves... and ideally, even more positive perception of prayers from people who have an actual investment in their lives, rather than from strangers.

    in the presence *or* in the absence of any actual supernatural power of prayer. My point was that, in this study, a set of churches that have no relationship to the individuals in the care setting, were chosen as the praying bodies. The patients were told something along the lines of, "I've given this Christian group your name and information, and they're praying for you." How they feel about that *is* determined by their relationship with that group and their feelings about being prayed for by strangers. And how they feel has been demonstrated quite compellingly to be a determinant of their cardiac outcomes....
     
  8. jimN macrumors 6502a

    jimN

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    #8
    Maybe they prayed to the wrong god?

    If we're assuming that some omnipotent being might find the time to pop in and help these people out hadn't we better make sure that we're at least appealling to them correctly. Let's face it, if the muslims are right (for example) then maybe he couldn't care less about those infidels and their bleeding hearts.

    I would have been more impressed if they had just taken some devout christians and offered them prayer or surgery - should be much easier to prove an end point!
     
  9. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #9
    other disagreements aside, are we all agreeing that any benefit seen from praying is due to the mind's ability to help the body heal, and not from divine intervention?
     
  10. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #10
    An interesting but ultimately useless study imo.

    Science has it's useful limits. The nature of the individual and of death are just too metaphysical. There are just too many intangibles and too many variables to make any meaningful scientific statement from this study.

    At the most, it just implies the role the mind has in life, which while certainly very meaningful, is beyond our capacity to understand in scientific terms.

    Of course, prayer is tangental to all of this - a variable mean to an end. It truly is the thought that counts.

    And I think I'm probably full of *****.
     
  11. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #11
    That's how I see it. I'm a firm believer in the power of the human mind. It's clear to me that we have the ability to help our own bodies heal if we put our minds to it. Whether or not we have the ability to harness our minds to help other peoples' bodies heal is open to debate. I would think it's possible but would entirely depend upon how well the two people know one another.

    When my grandfathers were nearing the end of their lives, the presence of my grandmothers had a noticeable effect, whether this was merely physical or through a mental connection I don't know. Whatever the case, I question how people who have no personal connection to other people are able to influence their body's ability to heal.
     
  12. revenuee macrumors 68020

    revenuee

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    #12
    "the answer we were looking for is Morman ..." - Family Guy


    This story sounds like something of THEONION.com
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    Just last night, PBS ran a very interesting program called "The New Medicine", about the increasing acceptance within the medical community of mind-body connections in healing. It was pretty fascinating, especially for somebody who's just been through the medical mill and has been wondering why so few people in the profession seem to comprehend the harm they can do to their patients when they treat them like sides of beef.

    Anyway, among the techniques discussed on the program for improving medical outcomes was meditation, yoga, hypnotism, and prayer. In fact it seems that any method of focusing the mind positively can assist in the healing process.
     
  14. jimN macrumors 6502a

    jimN

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    #14
    Seconded
     
  15. Stella macrumors 604

    Stella

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    #15
    There have been other studies ( including blind studies ) that suggest that pray has an affect on people recovering. Oh, and praying doesn't necessarily mean praying to God.

    One studies does, one doesn't... big deal.
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #16
    I don't know about prayer necessarily, but I would think that having people thinking about you would help at least a little. I have to say I'm surprised by this study. And also would have to say there are too many variables.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #17
    Yes, but I think the other studies involve people praying for their own recoveries, not being told that others are praying on their behalf.
     
  18. stoid macrumors 601

    stoid

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    #18
    I wonder if Oolon Colluphid would use this study if he wrote a sequel to his bestseller Well That About Wraps It Up for God.
     
  19. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #19
    That's the thing. Does prayer or positive thinking help when the person sick is the one praying? How about when someone else prays? What if they know they're being prayed for? What if they don't? What if they're relying solely on prayer instead of prayer and conventional medicine? Even if the report was more inclusive, it still wouldn't be conclusive. Far too many variables. I say pray (or at least think positively) for people when they're sick. It'll make you feel better.

    Maybe just don't tell them you're doing it. ;)
     
  20. Airforce macrumors 6502a

    Airforce

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    #20
    Yesh, talk about a waste of money ,time, and research...
     
  21. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    #21
    No, I do not agree in the least. However one must have a firm belief in God in order to believe in divine intervention, so trying to argue this point with someone who does not is rather pointless. This study is completely bogus; one cannot use science to prove or disprove the power of prayer because the effects of prayer are a product of the faith of the recipient. This would be akin to doing a study to prove or disprove the existence of God. The physical plane and the spritual plane operate on completely different levels, so you cannot use physical 'proof' to understand spiritual things.
    I personally have witnessed many instances of people being healed through the power of prayer and because of their faith. Can I prove it? or course not, no more than you can prove that it was not the power of prayer that healed them.
     
  22. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #22
    huh? the study was designed to measure the effect of prayer as a manifestation of health, something which is indeed measurable.

    or are you saying that even if a patient dies, it's reasonable to claim that his faith benefitted his health?
     
  23. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    #23
    I don't think it is measurable, though. In order to measure it one would have to expect a manifestation of its effects within a certain window of time. Did those doing the study expect to see its effects instantly? Within 5 minutes? 10? A day? God isn't a laboratory rat that we can examine and disect under a microscope. In the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament he says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my aways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV)
    So if God is not something that we can understand scientifically how can we expect his answer to prayers to be understood scientifically? And yes, it is true that sometimes a person is healed by his sheer determination to overcome illness, which may not have anything to do with prayers said by him or on his behalf. Or maybe it did. Can a scientific experiment show the difference between the two?
    I don't want to sound like one of those anti-science religious nuts. I believe that true science and true religion go hand in hand with one another. I just don't think the power of prayer can be measured through a scientific experiment.
     
  24. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #24
    what is 'it'?
     
  25. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    #25
    Are you saying that the more faith a person has, the more likely they are to be healed by God?

    If so, can we then assume that people who get worse even after praying just weren't religious enough? What about "bad" people that do get better when they pray?
     

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