By: David Rice
To: Jesse Hornbacher
>MG> Prayer is worse than useless. It is a waste of time.
JH> Not only are you insensitive, you are ignorant. Prayer has
JH> been more SCIENTIFICLY proven than evolution.
Science doesn't do proof, silly.
JH> This (the effectiveness of prayer) was reported in the New
JH> York Times, among others. It was found that distance made no
JH> difference and that general prayers were more effective than
JH> specific requests. Specific religions were not found to make
JH> a difference. This was a double-blind study with all of the
JH> proper methods used. Think about it.
Funnny how you don't offer ANY valid references. As usual, what
we find in reality is drastically different than what Fundy
Christians wish to make us believe.
From Bay Area Skeptics Information Sheet Vol. 8, No. 7
The report, "Positive Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory
Prayer [IP] in a Coronary Care Unit Population," was
published in updated version in the "Southern Medical
Journal", vol. 81, No. 7, July 1988. The author and
researcher, Dr. Randolph Byrd, MD (himself a
fundamentalist Christian), conducted his study at San
Francisco General Medical Center in the coronary care unit
over a period of 10 months (from August 1982 to May 1983).
The study drew 393 patients, 192 in the study group and
201 in the control group. The conclusions of this work
apparently stirred national attention and were mentioned
on Paul Harvey's broadcast.
During the ten-month period, Dr. Byrd requested all
patients in the CCU to participate in the study, a total
of 450. Fifty-seven (14.5%) declined for various reasons.
Those who agreed to take part were told the nature and
purpose of the study, and they signed mandatory informed
consent agreements. A random generator then assigned each
patient to either the study group (those for whom IP was
to be offered in addition to regular procedures) or to the
control group (those receiving only "traditional"
therapies), and both the medical staff and patients were
blinded as to the membership of each group.
Finally, Byrd chose "intercessors" on the following basis:
They were "born-again Christians (according to the Gospel
of John 3:3) with an active Christian life. . . ." These
intercessors were then randomly assigned a patient in the
study group for whom they were to pray daily, outside the
hospital, until the patient was discharged.
[Large cut by me, David Rice, concerning the selection of the
Real True Christians, and not Reprobate False Little christian
(small "c") Scum, to do all the praying. Also cut is a
pontification on why god would not heal the poor bastards who
were randomly selected to NOT receive intercessory prayer.]
Byrd failed to set up proper controls to counter the Placebo
Effect. Of 26 different heart problems, only six types showed
better than control group improvement: while significant to
the oh-five level, these numbers are well within study count
fluctuations (i.e. more studies will yield different results).
BASIS also notes that several other studies HAVE been done.
The bottom line is this: individuals who were told they were
being prayed for did better than individuals who were told they
were not being prayed for---- REGARDLESS OF IF THEY WERE BEING
PRAYED FOR OR NOT. In other words, individuals who were told
they were being prayed for but WERE NOT and individuals who
were told they were being prayed for AND WERE, did better than
individuals who were prayed for and NOT TOLD and individuals
who were not prayed for and were not told.
The study produced evidence that the BELIEF in prayer is
benefitial to heart patients, and the actual prayer IS NOT.
One may tell people they are being prayed at, and then not
do so, and they will show improvement over a control group.
When Christians claim a study demonstrated that prayer has been
scientifically demonstrated to be benefitial to heart patients,
they are either commiting a lie, are ignorant of the facts,
or do not understand how a proper study is performed.