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Author Topic: God vs. doctor: 1 in 2 say prayer saves the dying  (Read 8111 times)
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« Topic Start: August 19, 2008, 09:13:17 am »

God vs. doctor: 1 in 2 say prayer saves the dying
20 percent of docs also say God can reverse terminal prognosis, study finds
   
CHICAGO - When it comes to saving lives, God trumps doctors for many Americans.

An eye-opening survey reveals widespread belief that divine intervention can revive dying patients. And, researchers said, doctors "need to be prepared to deal with families who are waiting for a miracle."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26272687/
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« Reply #1: August 19, 2008, 12:47:48 pm »

God vs. doctor: 1 in 2 say prayer saves the dying
20 percent of docs also say God can reverse terminal prognosis, study finds
   
CHICAGO - When it comes to saving lives, God trumps doctors for many Americans.

An eye-opening survey reveals widespread belief that divine intervention can revive dying patients. And, researchers said, doctors "need to be prepared to deal with families who are waiting for a miracle."

Unless of course God is sick of all of those "been brought back from the brink of death" stories and decides to kill the person.
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« Reply #2: August 19, 2008, 02:11:09 pm »

God vs. doctor: 1 in 2 say prayer saves the dying
20 percent of docs also say God can reverse terminal prognosis, study finds
   
CHICAGO - When it comes to saving lives, God trumps doctors for many Americans.

An eye-opening survey reveals widespread belief that divine intervention can revive dying patients. And, researchers said, doctors "need to be prepared to deal with families who are waiting for a miracle."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26272687/

Then there is this study that seems to indicate that prayer actually makes things worse!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060403133554.htm

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« Reply #3: August 19, 2008, 02:23:52 pm »

Then there is this study that seems to indicate that prayer actually makes things worse!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060403133554.htm



But there have been studies varyingly showing that prayer had positive effects, no effects, and negative effects. Now, it may be helpful to compare the studies carefully to see what differing methodologies were used.  But with varying effects like this, I don't think anyone can make a solid conclusion about the efficacy of prayer.  I wouldn't be shocked if this were a case of chance being involved, but it may be more likely that methodological issues are involved.
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« Reply #4: August 19, 2008, 03:21:22 pm »

But there have been studies varyingly showing that prayer had positive effects, no effects, and negative effects. Now, it may be helpful to compare the studies carefully to see what differing methodologies were used.  But with varying effects like this, I don't think anyone can make a solid conclusion about the efficacy of prayer.  I wouldn't be shocked if this were a case of chance being involved, but it may be more likely that methodological issues are involved.

maybe it depends on how much God likes the researchers. Wink
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« Reply #5: August 19, 2008, 04:16:25 pm »

I wouldn't be shocked if this were a case of chance being involved, but it may be more likely that methodological issues are involved.

I could go with chance. Or divine intervention. Or whatever someone was inclined to call it.

I do know I've heard of doctor's saying that sometimes they can't explain what happens when a patient recovers or something unexpected happens. I suspect that's what's coming in to play here.
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« Reply #6: August 19, 2008, 04:50:14 pm »

I could go with chance.

It's tempting, but the question is if they claimed statistically significant results, and at what level?  In social sciences, we're often happy with a 5% or (we hope) 1% chance of the results occurring - uh, by chance.  In terms of drug testing, they want MUCH lower odds of the results occurring by chance, rather than as a result of the experimental condition.

(I think an interesting side issue would be: which set of assumptions should we be testing prayer by, if its to do with healing? Wink )
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« Reply #7: August 19, 2008, 05:05:16 pm »

(I think an interesting side issue would be: which set of assumptions should we be testing prayer by, if its to do with healing? Wink )

I actually had an interesting discussion about testing the efficacy of prayer in a design and statistics class once.  We were talking about how it would be difficult to randomly assign people to conditions.  In the "no prayer" condition, you would have to make sure that no one was praying for a person.  How would you go about that?  Post a notice on the hospital room door?  "Please don't pray for the health and life of Fred."  In the "prayer" condition, you would have to decide how to operationally define prayer, and figure out what sorts of prayers were equivalent.  Would quantity, quality, or creed be measured?  It is a much messier study than I would want to attempt, even leaving aside the supernatural bits.

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« Reply #8: August 19, 2008, 05:07:08 pm »



Yup.  Fun to discuss, but I wouldnt want to be the poor bastard who had to make a scientifically valid study out of it.
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« Reply #9: August 19, 2008, 05:27:47 pm »

In the "no prayer" condition, you would have to make sure that no one was praying for a person.  How would you go about that?  Post a notice on the hospital room door?  "Please don't pray for the health and life of Fred." 

There would be no constitutional way to stop people from praying for anyone they want to. In fact, the mere request of some organization or researcher that people not pray for certain sick individuals would generate lots of horrible publicity -- and perhaps even a few lawsuits. I just don't think controlled experiments with prayer and health are really possible. There are too many variables that cannot be controlled.
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« Reply #10: August 19, 2008, 05:33:59 pm »

There would be no constitutional way to stop people from praying for anyone they want to. In fact, the mere request of some organization or researcher that people not pray for certain sick individuals would generate lots of horrible publicity -- and perhaps even a few lawsuits. I just don't think controlled experiments with prayer and health are really possible. There are too many variables that cannot be controlled.

Perhaps the answer is to have a group of people praying that no one prays for the control group? :p
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« Reply #11: August 19, 2008, 05:35:38 pm »

Perhaps the answer is to have a group of people praying that no one prays for the control group? :p

LOL. That's a safe way, I guess.
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« Reply #12: August 19, 2008, 05:44:45 pm »

Perhaps the answer is to have a group of people praying that no one prays for the control group? :p

No confounding variables there, huh?   Tongue

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« Reply #13: August 19, 2008, 05:48:03 pm »

No confounding variables there, huh?   Tongue

Sperran

None at all <whistles innocently>

What we need is to overthrow a government somewhere, run things for a few generations to eradicate religious belief to the best of our abilities...  <rubs hands together and plots>
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« Reply #14: August 19, 2008, 06:54:45 pm »

What we need is to overthrow a government somewhere, run things for a few generations to eradicate religious belief to the best of our abilities...  <rubs hands together and plots>

It doesn't seem to work, at least not in the two or three generations the Soviets had and mainland China has.
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