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Old 05-13-2011, 12:25 AM
Drox Drox is offline
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Default Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

I'm not religious but how do you explain this?



Quote:
Methods
Cardiac patients from the San Francisco General Medical Center were randomly divided (using a computer-generated list) into two groups. The names of the patients in the "test" group were given to a group of Christians, who prayed for them while they were in the hospital. The intercessory prayer team members were chosen on the following basis:


1. Born again Christians on the basis of John 3:35

2. Led an active Christian life on the basis of
a. daily devotional prayer
b. fellowship in a local Christian church


The "placebo" group received no prayer. Neither the "test" nor the "placebo" group of patients knew if they were receiving prayer. Likewise, the hospital staff, doctors, or nurses were "blinded" since they did not know which patient belonged to which group.


Results
Statistics were acquired from the prayer and placebo groups both before and after prayer, until the patients were discharged from the hospital. There were no statistical differences between the placebo and the prayer groups before prayer was initiated. The results demonstrated that patients who were prayed for suffered "less congestive heart failure, required less diuretic and antibiotic therapy, had fewer episodes of pneumonia, had fewer cardiac arrests, and were less frequently intubated and ventilated." Statistics demonstrated the the prayer group had a statistically significantly lower severity score based upon the hospital course after entry (p < 0.01). Multivariate analysis of all the parameters measured demonstrated that the outcomes of the two groups were even more statistically significant (p < 0.0001). In science, the standard level of significance is when a "p value" is less than 0.05. A value of 0.01 means that the likelihood the result is because of chance is one in 100. A p value of 0.0001 indicates that in only one study out of 10,000 is the result likely to be due to chance.


There's more info here as well as details about two other studies that supposedly showed positive effects of prayer.

http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/prayer.html
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:26 AM
ArmsMerchant ArmsMerchant is offline
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

There have been numerous such studies, with varying results.

IMHO, prayer works because of the power inherant in the one praying, not because he or she persuaded some deity to intercede.
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2011, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

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Originally Posted by ArmsMerchant View Post
There have been numerous such studies, with varying results.

IMHO, prayer works because of the power inherant in the one praying, not because he or she persuaded some deity to intercede.
What do you think about this man's concept? (regarding real communication)


Video summary:
-God "speaks" through one person at a time for each generation. That person may not even KNOW it.
-In every 500 years or so, that person very strongly. In 2000 he feel very strongly.
-We have violated too many of God's laws. And God is very upset about abortion.

Quote:
Other summaries
-The first Christ was public, had a positive outlook.. on the way the world could, turn out.
-The anti Christ has seen the last 2000 years and knows... that it was not possible, to save the world.
-The Original Christ is public, the antichrist is now PRIVATE
-WE are TOO late TOO stupid
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:52 AM
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Lightbulb Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

I wonder what the reviews were.
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:22 AM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

Quote:
Originally Posted by whocares View Post
What do you think about this man's concept? (regarding real communication)

YouTube - the antichrist called the Art Bell show 1998 predicting enconomic collapse starting in 2006

Video summary:
-God "speaks" through one person at a time for each generation. That person may not even KNOW it.
-In every 500 years or so, that person very strongly. In 2000 he feel very strongly.
-We have violated too many of God's laws. And God is very upset about abortion.
didn't collapse till december of 2007 but mostly in 2008. nice try.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

This is interesting, but I don't feel it is limited to only Christians. But since the study was done on Christians it is reasonable to title this thread as so. I'm curious, because I've read that there is also scientific evidence of mantra having health benefits for a person, which is similar to prayer but not quite the same. Where in prayer you are asking for something usually or praying for a person or situation where a mantra by definition is "A sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of 'creating transformation'. Their use and type varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra."

Both are a focus of energy used to build some sort of healing, so I wonder what about these practices provide it.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:46 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

Psychosomatic. If you believe something will help you get better, your body will heal faster. Like a placebo drug.

But since neither group was told... Well, the methodology isn't shown. Perhaps the sample size was too small/no repeat experiments were done, and the result was anomalous. Or perhaps all the people in the prayer group were Christian (the spread of Christians/non-Christians/atheists isn't shown) - this would give them a psychosomatic benefit whether or not they knew someone was praying for them. Or perhaps it's down to confirmation bias - the (presumably Christian) experimenters, when recording or interpreting the date, unconsciously erred on the side of 'recovery' for the Prayer Group and on the side of non-recovery for the Non-Prayer Group. Or perhaps it's just plain old bullshit. Occam's Razor? Which do you think is simpler - they didn't do their experiment properly, or there's a supernatural being that controls the Universe?

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and I don't see any of that.

Last edited by ratfrink; 05-13-2011 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:49 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

some flaw in the study.
would need a detailed account of methodology.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:51 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

I agree that one mistake made with this study was the fact that each side knew that one was going to be prayed for. Also, does anyone know of any psychosomatic studies like this one that contains evidence supporting the concept?
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:52 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

doesn't control the universe, IS the universe @ratfrink
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:52 PM
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Lightbulb Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Headspin View Post
This is interesting, but I don't feel it is limited to only Christians. But since the study was done on Christians it is reasonable to title this thread as so. I'm curious, because I've read that there is also scientific evidence of mantra having health benefits for a person, which is similar to prayer but not quite the same. Where in prayer you are asking for something usually or praying for a person or situation where a mantra by definition is "A sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of 'creating transformation'. Their use and type varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra."

Both are a focus of energy used to build some sort of healing, so I wonder what about these practices provide it.
I can see prayer and mantra and the like have an effect on the person performing them - of course there is an effect.

But on others, who are unaware that someone is praying for them? Now that doesn't make much sense to me.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHODAN View Post
I can see prayer and mantra and the like have an effect on the person performing them - of course there is an effect.

But on others, who are unaware that someone is praying for them? Now that doesn't make much sense to me.
I agree that I also do not understand how that would work.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

theres alot of things i dont understand
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:49 PM
Rust Rust is offline
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drox View Post
I'm not religious but how do you explain this?
Flaws in their methodology and flaws in interpretation.

One obvious flaw in methodology:

"It was assumed that some of the patients in both groups would be prayed for by people not associated with the study; this was not controlled for. Thus some of the patients in the control group would be prayed for, whereas all of the patients in the prayer group would be (i.e.,
by both nonassociated people and by the designated intercessors of the study).
"

That's a nice way of saying that prayer wasn't really controlled for. Meaning, for all he knows, those who were in the control group could have had more people praying for them, or the same amount of people praying for them harder, which would then mean that prayer was proven to be malignant!

Flaw in interpretation:

There were other criteria were patients in the control group performed better (or just as good) as those the prayer group. For instance, 9% of those in the prayer group died, where as 8.8% died in the control group. That's not a significant difference, yet those praying were explicitly instructed to pray for a prevention of death. So what, God didn't answer that prayer? He decided to just do a small improvement in the quality of recovery, but let the same amount of people die, let them spend the same amount of days in the CCU, spend the same days in the hospital after entry, and require the same number of medications after discharged?

Quote:
There's more info here as well as details about two other studies that supposedly showed positive effects of prayer.

http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/prayer.html
Yeah, they are cherry picking because there a huge amount of them that show negative results or no results at all.

And that's hugely important. You don't demonstrate something with just one study. You show it when you have consistent positive results among many studies. Sure, you can expect a few studies to show no results or even negative results because studies like that depend largely on methodology, but if what prayer actually did something, then that should be observed in the general consensus amongst the studies. We don't see that. Prayer has a completely mix bag of results (most showing no results or very tiny positive and negative effects), which is something consistent with there being no efficacy to prayer and it just being down to chance and errors in methodology.

Last edited by Rust; 05-13-2011 at 04:02 PM.
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  #15  
Old 05-13-2011, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

It actually seems a bit desperate to me for a study to announce that they have scientific evidence when there are so many errors and flaws within the study itself. What research team would allow that to happen?
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

Well to be fair, if you look at the study itself, he* really reaching any strong conclusions or anything. He is just presenting the results of his experiment, and stating what he think those results suggest. The flaws of the methodology are definitely disconcerting, but it's still important to publish results like that and let the scientific community sort the results/problems out. By publishing it and critiquing it, you then make it known to other researchers what the proper methodology should be, and what they should avoid doing.


If anybody is at fault, it's the Christian website IMHO. They are not painting an accurate view of the scientific literature on prayer. They chose three studies they could present as being evidence of the efficacy of prayer, and didn't read them critically for any possible flaws, or present the vast number of other experiments that show no results (or negative results).

This is a link the to abstract of the study, the whole thing is available as a PDF on the right: http://journals.lww.com/smajournalon...cessory.5.aspx

*It doesn't look like it's a team of researchers really, just a cardiologist who noticed he had a lot of patients at his disposal, and thought it would be interesting to test this out.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

Looking at that abstract it strikes me as a successful study, I'm a bit confused.

edit - successful in the sense that something valid was proven from the prayer to the patients
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

Successful in what sense?

Successful in that it was completed, and results were published? Sure.

Successful in the sense that it managed to support the idea of the efficacy of prayer meaningfully? Not really; the are important flaws in the methodology and interpretation of the results, and when looked at in the context of the literature, it's clear that prayer has no effect.

Last edited by Rust; 05-13-2011 at 05:56 PM. Reason: is no effect => has no effect
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

I see.... yeah yeah yeah.... I knew that... my plan was successful, ha! I made you restate what has already been said.

Not really. Considering this hasn't proved anything convincing I'll let the thread stay open the rest of the day if anyone wants to bring up some other studies for debate, obviously it will remain open if its active.
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Old 05-14-2011, 04:04 AM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rust View Post
Successful in what sense?

Successful in that it was completed, and results were published? Sure.

Successful in the sense that it managed to support the idea of the efficacy of prayer meaningfully? Not really; the are important flaws in the methodology and interpretation of the results, and when looked at in the context of the literature, it's clear that prayer has no effect.
[rhectorical question]

[fitted rhectorical question followed by a fitted obvious answer]

[another rhectorical question asked to fit the presumptive answer] [add speculation] [insert opinion] [therefore opinion is true]

When will you learn that asking a bunch of rhetorical questions that are fitted for your expectation of what you want to hear does not work? When will you understand that it only confirms your inability to answer them which is obviously disguised to look like you've put in a lot of thought towards it. If you are going to argue about effects and results and proof look at your own arguments. Do they even make sense? It's like you are having a deep conversation with yourself.. should we let you keep pondering? We are never sure as to make of it as a poor argument or a poor attempt at a logical insult.
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Old 05-14-2011, 04:13 AM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

Quote:
Originally Posted by whocares View Post
[rhectorical question]

[fitted rhectorical question followed by a fitted obvious answer]

[another rhectorical question asked to fit the presumptive answer] [add speculation] [insert opinion] [therefore opinion is true]

When will you learn that asking a bunch of rhetorical questions that are fitted for your expectation of what you want to hear does not work? When will you understand that it only confirms your inability to answer them which is obviously disguised to look like you've put in a lot of thought towards it. If you are going to argue about effects and results and proof look at your own arguments. Do they even make sense? It's like you are having a deep conversation with yourself.. should we let you keep pondering? We are never sure as to make of it as a poor argument or a poor attempt at a logical insult.
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Old 05-14-2011, 04:50 AM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

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Originally Posted by Rust View Post
There were other criteria were patients in the control group performed better (or just as good) as those the prayer group. For instance, 9% of those in the prayer group died, where as 8.8% died in the control group. That's not a significant difference, yet those praying were explicitly instructed to pray for a prevention of death. So what, God didn't answer that prayer? He decided to just do a small improvement in the quality of recovery, but let the same amount of people die, let them spend the same amount of days in the CCU, spend the same days in the hospital after entry, and require the same number of medications after discharged?

On this I will comment that yes, God will allow you to die when you are to die. Otherwise no one would die.


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God created a medicine to every sickness except death
We will all surely die one day.
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Old 05-14-2011, 05:18 AM
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Default Re: Scientific studies validate effectiveness of Christian prayer

^ Right, and they all coincidentally were to die in the same amounts? What a coincidence.
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