Prayer fails againgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Atheists United Discussion Group : One Thread
Please save your examples of prayer failing here.
(I bet the profession of wart charmer was not discussed at career day at your high school.)
Got Warts? Prayer Might Not Help
Distance healing fails to affect skin affliction
By Serena Gordon, HealthSCOUT Reporter
THURSDAY, April 27 (HealthSCOUT) -- Can prayers, meditation or spirit mediums heal what ails you? No, says the latest study in this highly charged debate.
Researchers report in the American Journal of Medicine that experienced "distance healers" were unable to help patients who had skin warts.
"Wart charming is a form of distance healing, and many healers claim to heal warts," says study author Dr. Edzard Ernst, a professor in the complementary medicine department at Exeter University in England.
Ernst explains that distance healing is the channeling of healing "energy" through the healer to the patient. The patient is in one location and the healer in another. According to Ernst, distance healing includes prayer, meditation, telepathy, magic and spirit mediums and doctors.
For their study, Ernst and his colleagues recruited 10 experienced distance healers and 84 patients with warts who described themselves as open to the concept . The patients were assigned randomly either to a group that received no care for their warts or to a group that received six weeks of distance healing.
The healers were told the name and age of their patients as well as the name of the city where each patient lived. They also received a "wart map" that detailed the size and number of each patient's warts. All of the healers lived about 150 miles away from the patients.
The healers had an average of 11 years of experience and all were members of the Confederation of Healing Organizations.
The results were not good for the healers. At the end of the study, the two groups showed no significant differences, the researchers say. In fact, the group that received healing actually had an increase in the size and number of their warts of 0.2 percent, while the people in the control group had their warts decrease by 1.1 percent.
The researchers say they did not discuss the results with the healers.
People are willing to believe, Ernst says, because they've heard so many anecdotes. "Warts disappear spontaneously," he says. "If this happens to you while being submitted to healing, this is bound to be most impressive."
Joseph Kelley, a professor of religious studies at Merrimack College in Andover, Mass., says that people want to believe because "it's our desire to escape affliction and pain.
"We look to religion for some illusion of control and destiny over our lives," he says.
But Kelley says he does believe there's a connection between faith and healing. What you find when you study this phenomenon depends on what your expectations are and how you approach it, he says. This particular study was "very mechanistic," he says.
"Distance healing does work," says Candace Talmadge, an alternative-healing therapist from Lancaster, Texas. "It doesn't work every time -- just like chemotherapy doesn't work every time. Nothing works all the time. People can accept or reject healing."
Alternative therapies, she says, are being judged by a higher standard than traditional medicine.
But just because science can't explain distance healing with a neat, tidy and rational explanation doesn't mean it's not valid, Talmadge says.
-- Anonymous, May 17, 2000
I've got an ongoing feud with my local Board of Supervisors here in Ventura County.
They always start their public board meetings with a prayer from a local clergy. I have volunteered to speak during that time myself, since they are always scrambling for an invocation speaker; but when they discovered that I had no religious 'credentials', they turned me down.
As part of my research, I have obtained a list of the clergy that they have used for the past 2 years at each of their meetings. The list shows that they regularly rotate about 7 different protestant male ministers throughout the year. For the meetings that I have attended, the clergy giving the invocation regularly 'asks for God's blessing and guidance for this board'.
It so happens that in 1999, the Board of Supervisors made some seriously bad management decisions in trying to combine two county departments, damaging both departments and causing a hemorrage of several million dollars of county funds in the debacle.
It has apparently escaped notice by all that a clergy gave an invocation at the very board meetings which made the above disastrous decisions. Yet is this covered in the local paper? Of course not! Not only has there been no accountability placed on that clergy for failing to deliver God's guidance, but that same clergy continues to offer invocations to the board to this very day.
I have pointed this contradiction out in my letters to the Board of Supervisors as a reason to discontinue the invocation, but the obvious significance of the issue has fallen on deaf ears. Does no one realize or care what evil forces this false prophet, this man of Satan is imposing on the Board?
-- Anonymous, June 11, 2000