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Here We Go Again - Intercessory Prayer For The Sick

Randy

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Here We Go Again - Intercessory Prayer For The Sick
« on: June 17, 2020, 04:52:30 PM »
The psychological benefits of prayer: What science says about the mind-soul connection.

I thought this had been covered several times before but here it is again. I thought I'd post this to get your thoughts on it.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson

Re: Here We Go Again - Intercessory Prayer For The Sick
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2020, 10:35:20 PM »
Opinion: Prayer = mostly contemplation/wishful thinking. The whole existence of people has + or - psychological benefits and/or harms. I see prayer as self consolation.
The only thing possible the world needs saving from are the ones running it.
Oh lord, save us from those wanting to save us.
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Re: Here We Go Again - Intercessory Prayer For The Sick
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2020, 10:42:04 PM »
When  a youngster I prayed for a bicycle. It didn't work. So I prayed that the local owner of the bowling alley would let me set pins---it worked (apparently). When I had enough money I bought a bike. That worked too. In those days a brand new Schwinn was 25 bucks. I don't recall praying since. (True story)
The only thing possible the world needs saving from are the ones running it.
Oh lord, save us from those wanting to save us.
https://sites.google.com/site/oldseers

Randy

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Re: Here We Go Again - Intercessory Prayer For The Sick
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2020, 12:05:16 AM »
What gets me is that they are throwing science back into it as if it somehow validates it. It doesn't upon further reading. After all, how can science create a control group? Even I'm being prayed for (not that it is doing any good) despite my objections as a waste of time. I don't think Neptune likes me.

Without a control group there can't be a comparative study. I've mentioned before that I'm strictly a layman when it comes to science but I think I have a pretty good grasp of how it works. But really, in the grand scheme of things, there are too many people dying of all sorts of disease including COVID-19. I think there were people praying for them and look how that turned out. Of course, "God has a plan and it isn't for us to question."  :-X
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson

Icarus

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Re: Here We Go Again - Intercessory Prayer For The Sick
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2020, 02:49:51 AM »
I believe that prayer that is aimed at some result is a senseless exercise.  On the other hand if it gives the prayerful person some comfort or hope, then I say go for it.  I am being charitable here but I do have mixed feelings about the people who so fervently believe that "there is power in prayer".   Power to whom? To influence Gods will?  Are we so confident that we can change the mind of God by beseeching him to cut us some slack?  Prayer (begging) sometimes gives comfort to the faith people. So let it be.

Recusant

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Re: Here We Go Again - Intercessory Prayer For The Sick
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2020, 03:34:07 AM »
First thing I'll note is the implicit reminder in the article that the "nones" (those who tick the "none" box in poll about religious belief) are by no means necessarily atheist or even agnostic.

Quote
Large majorities of Americans generally and US Christians specifically who pray daily have turned to prayer during the outbreak. But so did some who seldom or never pray, and people who didn't belong to any religion have started praying.

The phrasing betrays that the writer of the piece is either supportive of prayer or is unwilling to risk alienating those who are.

Quote
It has also been difficult to prove whether any benefits derive from distant intercessory prayer, or when people were separated into groups in which they didn't know who was or wasn't being prayed for from a distance.

The link goes to a meta-analysis of 14 studies of the effect of intercessory prayer. The results of that analysis show that when personal interaction through praying in the room with the patient is eliminated, no benefit has been observed to accrue to patients as a result of intercessory prayer. A bit more definitive than that bland "difficult to prove" would lead the incurious reader to think.

As to the other positive effects of praying described in the article, I don't have any trouble believing they're possible. The thought that you can ask the almighty creator of the universe to give you some help, and that the creator will at least give your request some consideration must be a significant comfort.  :)
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


xSilverPhinx

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Re: Here We Go Again - Intercessory Prayer For The Sick
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2020, 02:49:51 PM »
Yeah...there are loads of methodological problems in designing an experiment to test the effects of prayer, such as the ones mentioned in the article. There are too many variables, and if they can't adequately be controlled for what you get are messy results.

The major hurdle is how do you separate a god-induced response from a natural one? How exactly do you test a hypothesis which includes the supernatural, which is beyond the realm of science? There's just no way you can affirm it was god's doing if a sick person being prayed for gets better. Such experimental results would have to be very cautiously worded. It would still be a poorly designed experiment, though.

What would be interesting is to compare brain scans of people who are being prayed for (and know it) with patients who are being prayed for (and don't know it), along with an extra group of patients who are not being prayed for (two subgroups: one in which patients know it and another who don't).  I don't know if it's already been done, and frankly, am too lazy to find out. :P I'd bet results would be inconclusive, though.

There would still be many variables...and messy results. Would these patients be believers? Non-believers? A mixed group? Would they all be suffering from the same disease? Etc...

It makes much more sense to study the similarities between prayer, meditation and mindfulness and how they affect the individual's well being and mental health. The brain can be trained to do all sorts of awesome things such as not paying attention to pain so that it's not felt or felt way less.
I lose myself infused in something more than what they've seen
I'm not a slave to greed
I don't embrace your make believe
I've never been for sale no matter what they think I need