Study: Praying Won't Affect Heart Patients

NEW YORK - In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.

Researchers emphasized that their work can't address whether God exists or answers prayers made on another's behalf. The study can only look for an effect from prayers offered as part of the research, they said.

They also said they had no explanation for the higher complication rate in patients who knew they were being prayed for, in comparison to patients who only knew it was possible prayers were being said for them.


Dr. Harold G. Koenig, director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at the Duke University Medical Center, who didn't take part in the study, said the results didn't surprise him.

"There are no scientific grounds to expect a result and there are no real theological grounds to expect a result either," he said. "There is no god in either the Christian, Jewish or Moslem scriptures that can be constrained to the point that they can be predicted."

Within the Christian tradition, God would be expected to be concerned with a person's eternal salvation, he said, and "why would God change his plans for a particular person just because they're in a research study?"

Science, he said, "is not designed to study the supernatural."

Okay, I happen to be taking a course in research at the moment, so this caught my eye. And the one thing that leapt to my mind was "Who in the world paid for this?" (Yeah, I know, the Templeton Foundation. I can only assume that the people holding the purse strings over there are a bunch of knuckleheads.)

What exactly is the purpose of this study? I mean, I can understand trying a study to test and see if knowing that someone is praying for you will have a positive effect on your recovery... but that to me would be more of a psychological study. This... this just seems to be a weird attempt to "test prayer." Either that, or it's a pointlessly expensive way to make the intelligent design bozos look ridiculous.

I mean, come on guys... haven't you got the True Believers in enough of a snit lately?

To anyone from the Templeton Foundation that may be reading this: I have an excellent idea for a study. I'd like to see if quitting my job and being paid by you to play video games and read books all day will have any affect on my hair growth. Ru$h an e-mail me$$age to me if you're intere$ted in di$cu$$ing thi$.

(From my heart and from my hand, why don't people understand my cross-posts?)

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