I would like to think that prayer/healing does work, but that it is a higher human capability,, rather than god’s intervening. It may be a function of; furrowing the brow, placing both hands’ fingertips together, flexing the muscles around the solar plexis, and visualizing good stuff for the intended…
Prayer might show up all special like on the cat-scan or the MRI,,,, probably the same as feelings of empathy. I’v always been afraid that healers had to have greater empathy strengths which would include mind reading,,,, and knowing what the average Joe is thinking is something I’m not interested in.
What say we agitated angnostics heal someone here on the board?
When I first met my wife, she was going to a Korean Southern Baptist church in which the minister and his wife were healers. (I didn’t mind going as I did not understand a single word of the sermons and I would get to play on the swings with my daughter and the other kids,,,, that and my wife had made the inteligent statement “I couldn’t be happy in heaven knowing you(me) were in hell.) Anywhup,,, I do believe in healing(a la metaphysical).
Unfortunately, one of the little old Korean ladies in our church fell down and broke her hip, refused orthodox medical care, and lived in excruciating pain for who knows how long,, as I moved to DC 1 year after her fall…
Another sad story was my Korean Catholic mom-in-law. The Korean government at the end of the 20th century had decided that having a standing army was barbaric(this has got to be one of those things I read in an alternate reality). So, in 1910 Japan started its 35 years of brutal occupation. Typically, the Japanese would herd all the Christians in a town into their church and set it on fire. During this time, my mom-in-law was married to a 6ft+ man for whom the Japanese posted “WANTED” signs because my pop-in-law had killed some 30 odd Japanese. So my mom-in-law after being treated like a slave before and during WW2 was then put through the Korean War and typically when the commies would leave town they would pile as many dead bodies in the town center as they could. The hubby being a drunkn brute was probably a bad thing too. So,, she finally comes to live in the US with her daughter and myself where she dies from an inoperable very painful bladder cancer. Prayer didn’t help.
I do expect to meet her on the “other side” with that unwanted total empathy.
As an aside, ancestor worship derives from a certain obvious logic, but if I were to pray to my ancestors for a boon,,,, I would just be embarrassing my self for the cupcake I am…
I think that the key thing to remember here is that the study was, shall we say, lacking.
There are, at the edges of human existence, some very interesting things. There is the placebo effect, observationally triggered galvanic skin response, and a host of other things which seem a bit odd. These things certainly merit study.
In order to truly study the efficacy of prayer in healing, and to determine what (if any) sort of prayer is the best, a much larger study would need to be performed. There would, of course, have to be a large control group that is not being prayed for (or at least no more than normal). There would also need to be multiple groups of patients, each praying either to different deities, or attempting to “harmonize” with a different principle. Furthermore, some of the groups praying should actually believe, and some should not. Additionally, some of the patients should be told that they are being prayed for, and some not. While we are at it, some patients that are not being prayed for should be told that they are.
After the results from such a study were compiled, it might be possible to determine what, if any, efficacy prayer has in healing. It might also shed light on how it works.
My gut on this, however, is that while there is probably an effect, it is pretty mundane. The body clearly has variable recuperative powers. I suspect that for a person to know that a large number of other people care about them and desperately want them to recover is positive modifier of this recuperative ability.
What I find disturbing is that there seems to be a trend for people to don white lab coats, proclaim themselves scientists, and then to go about “validating” popular religious/mystical notions. Furthermore, the media at large seems to be favorably disposed to this sort of thing.
I could send my $25 to one of those “non-accredited” schools, and then publish a study “proving” that astrology actualy has merit, and I bet that I could get into the news.
Peer review isn’t perfect, but it’s better than the alternative. More importantly, peer review and subsequent publishing isn’t the end of the road. Look at what happened to this article. After it was published and the wider scientific community was able to critique it, the cracks in the study started to show and the journal got raked over the coals. It looks like the editors did a poor job of selecting reviewers of the article. But it is still better to have a small group of experts vett an article first, rather than to publish articles with not even that degree of consensus in the scientific community. Even though some articles may slip through the cracks, the system as a whole still works. Getting published is only the first tiny step towards acceptance by the scientific community.
it would be nice if a study could be done to see which religions have the most verafiable healings and has the fewest shitty old age deaths,,(per capita over the past 5 years)....
if many religions have healers/healings( per references),,,,, then,,, either humans themselves are doing the healing or god works through many religions..
If god works thru many religions then give us a break on the proselytizen. If humans are doing the healing,,, then agnostics’ prayers are the bestest prayers.