It could "create a new debate"? No way!
Part of me wanted to cheer for the study all the way. I wanted all of it to read like this:
San Francisco cardiologist Randolph Byrd, for example, conducted an experiment in which he asked born-again Christians to pray for 192 people hospitalized for heart problems, comparing them with 201 not targeted for prayer. No one knew which group they were in. He reported in 1988 that those who were prayed for needed fewer drugs and less help breathing.But then I stopped to really think about it and, really, what good does that tell us? The faithful take it as sure evidence and the skeptics critique it as bad science. And the article brings up a good point too - how do you quantify prayer? Would those that received daily prayer do better than those with weekly prayer and those with five prayers a day do best of all? And what about the prayers, as in the ones who pray? Would a pope's prayer invoke more healing than a six-year-old's requests? Perhaps there would be bonus effects from a prayer who spoke in tongues or those that truly interceded for their prayees?
What do you think of it all?
Do you agree with behavioral researcher Richard Sloan?
"I would like to see us stop wasting precious research dollars putting religious practices to the test of science," Sloan said. "It's a waste of money, and it trivializes the religious experience."Or maybe you side with Rev. Raymond J. Lawrence?
"There's nothing we know about the physical universe that could account for how the prayers of someone in Washington, D.C., could influence the health of a group of people in Iowa -- nothing whatsoever"
"God is beyond the reach of science. It's absurd to think you could use it to examine God's play."Or maybe you're more hopeful and waiting for more proof like John A Astin or Mitchell W. Kurcoff?
"Yesterday's science fiction often becomes tomorrow's science," said John A. AstinDoes the whole thing belong more to the Twilight Zone or Time Magazine?
"When quantum physics was emerging, Einstein wrote about spooky interactions between particles at a distance," Krucoff said. "That's at least one very theoretical model that might support notions of distant prayer or distant healing."
*All quotes are borrowed from MSN article from The Washington Post, as linked above, for purely conversational debating purposes