The Raving Theist

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Excuses, Excuses

April 17, 2006 | 8 Comments

William Saletan of Slate lists the endless excuses now being offered by theologians, the MSM and others for the failure of the recent prayer study. The first explanation is the best, despite the link to a disreputable source.


8 Responses to “Excuses, Excuses”

  1. Brad
    April 17th, 2006 @ 10:19 pm

    I think it would be more interesting to add a 4th group to a similar study, that would be told there were being prayed for, but then were never actually prayed for. To see if the results would match with those told they were being prayed for, showing a physological effect as aposed to a spiritual one.

  2. Jean-Paul Fastidious
    April 18th, 2006 @ 1:50 am

    But Brad, how would you rule out that one or more of the prayer practitioners didn’t secretly offer a prayer aimed in general at those patients who were being deceptively denied prayer as part of the anti-faith scientific process, thereby giving those patients the spiritual benefits of prayer? Or does God only do the biddings of prayers when specific names are given?

  3. Dada Saves
    April 18th, 2006 @ 7:34 am

    Odd that Saletan’s first reason references you, TRA, as your post would have better applied to any of the other 16.

  4. Brad
    April 18th, 2006 @ 9:00 am

    Jean-Paul, I suppose you’d have to just trust the crazy praying people not to lie about not praying for the ones they aren’t supposed to pray for, just as you’d have to trust them to actually pray for the ones they should be praying for. There really is no way to do a fully scientific test including prayer, they aren’t compatible, and thus will probably never give a really difinitive result

  5. Tom
    April 18th, 2006 @ 3:30 pm

    10. God ignores you if you don’t pray hard enough. “Maybe the people weren’t praying very hard,” a monsignor tells the St. Petersburg Times.

    What, now you gotta strain till you shit yourself for God to care?

  6. markm
    April 19th, 2006 @ 11:22 am

    Tom, Sister Mary Katherine would whack your knuckles for the language, but she’s probably in agreement with that. For a millenia and a half, people would wear hair shirts, whip themselves, and live for years under a vow of silence on the plainest possible diet in order to get their prayers heard. What makes you think he’ll pay attention to someone that just says a few prayers in comfort (and didn’t give a huge bribe to the Church)?

  7. Tom
    April 19th, 2006 @ 5:55 pm

    Getting the congregation “into the pews” will certainly take on new meaning.

  8. john
    April 21st, 2006 @ 10:57 pm

    “5. God requires a personal reference. “Intercessory prayer makes much more sense in community, in family, [where] we’re concerned about the well-being of one another,” one of the study’s authors argued in a teleconference on the findings. A congressman may care whether your lobbyist knows the congressman, but what God cares about is whether your intercessor knows you.”

    The problem with this one, of course, is also the reason that people actually believe prayer works and, in this case – it DOES! Unfortunately for the believer, they are drawing a correlation between the prayer and god and the improvement of the patient, when in fact the correlation is between the genuine concern of a loved one, positive thinkings benefits, and the improvement of the patient.

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