2 thoughts on “Praying Won’t Affect Heart Patients”

  1. By request (a miracle in and of itself!)

    I’ve really gotta know something. Please, be honest with me — is it just me? When I see something like this article (see below), published as “news” or as “findings of a scientific study” it makes me want to pull clumps of graying hair out of my own head.

    $2.4 MILLION dollars spent to “find” that praying for a sick person to get better doesn’t have anything to do with whether they actually get better or not.

    Where was this stupid study performed? At the DUH! Institute of Stupidity?

    Hey, don’t ask me whether there are Gods or Higher Powers at work in the Universe or not. I don’t’ think we’re even supposed to know these things. We’re here to figure other stuff out, before we get around to that. And if there are, they sure aren’t ringing me up on the phone to offer guidance or advice. Or you either, bucko. Only George W Bush and Pat Robertson get those calls.

    So I think that it’s PRETTY DAMN CLEAR BY NOW that whatever does or doesn’t exist in the Heavens, we are all ON OUR OWN as far as what goes on down here on the earthly plane. You spiritual folks, don’t get your backs up . . . none of that refutes your spiritual beliefs, if you have any – it only means that you, me, and everyone else is accountable for your own life, which seems fair and appropriate. Praying for someone’s recovery is thoughtful and kind, and it can be an emotional experience for either or both parties – but to actually think that it’s going to have a MEDICAL OUTCOME?! What the (bleep) are you smoking, man?

    That people still would consider something like this to even be an “open question” calling for “research and investigation” only suggests to me that maybe the red-staters are right, after all – that significant percentages of the human species have not really evolved in any meaningful way. They’re still gathered around some sacred tree, chanting magic spells and convincing themselves that this can somehow alter the realities of the real, physical universe we live in. This is a mindless rejection of critical thinking and reason, in favor of embracing mumbo jumbo and magic stories. It can’t be a good thing because (a) it doesn’t change anything, and (b) it’s not real.

    Or at least, that’s my opinion. Obviously, some folks would disagree, just like some folks (3 out of 10 at last measurement) think that George W Bush has performed acceptably as president. There may be a God up there, for all I know, and if so He or She or It may be watching the show down here and taking notes. But it’s pretty darn clear – isn’t it? – that God isn’t running a switchboard to take requests – even a God couldn’t handle that kind of endless volume of customer service needs.

    I think we need to know we have the responsibility for our own lives. Take the reins and do your best. Every time I see a movie where they are, for example, trying to rescue someone or someone’s in peril, and they’ve reached a juncture where there isn’t anything else that they can think of to do, and they finally settle on “Let’s pray!” I’m always reminded of that old truism: “Yeah, and while you’re at it with the praying, why don’t you pee into the other hand . . . and let me know which hand fills up first.”

    You’re quite welcome for this unsolicited advice. That’ll be $2.4 million dollars, please. No personal checks.

    No benefit of prayer found after surgery
    By Rob Stein, Associated Press | March 31, 2006

    WASHINGTON — Praying for other people to recover from an illness is ineffective, according to the largest, best-designed study to try to examine the power of prayer to heal strangers at a distance.

    The study of more than 1,800 heart bypass surgery patients found that those who had other people praying for them had as many complications as those who did not. In fact, one group of patients who knew they were the subject of prayers fared worse.

    The long-awaited results, the latest in a series of studies that have failed to find any benefit from ”distant” or ”intercessory” prayer, came as a blow to the hopes of some that scientific research would validate the popular notion that people can influence the health of people even if they don’t know someone is praying for them.

    The researchers cautioned that the study was not designed to test the existence of God or the benefit of other types of prayer, such as praying for oneself or at bedsides of friends or relatives. They also did not rule out that other types of distant prayer may be effective for other types of patients.

    ”No one single study is ever going to provide an answer,” said Jeffery Dusek of Harvard Medical School, who helped lead the study being published in the April 4 issue of the American Heart Journal.

    While many studies have suggested that praying for oneself may reduce stress, research into praying for others who may not even know they are the subject of prayers has been much more controversial. Several studies that claimed to show a benefit have been criticized as deeply flawed. And several of the most recent findings have found no benefit.

    The new $2.4 million study, funded primarily by the John Templeton Foundation, was designed to overcome some of those shortcomings. Dusek and his colleagues divided 1,802 bypass patients at six hospitals into three groups. Two groups were uncertain whether they would be the subject of prayers. The third was told they would be prayed for.

    The researchers recruited two Catholic groups and one Protestant group to pray ”for a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications” for 14 days for each patient, beginning the night before the surgery, using the patient’s first name and the first initial of the last name.

    Over the next month, patients in the two groups that were uncertain whether they were the subject of prayers fared virtually the same, with about 52 percent experiencing complications regardless of whether they were the subject of prayers.

    Surprisingly, however, 59 percent of the patients who knew they were the targets of prayer experienced complications.

    Because the most common complication was an irregular heartbeat, the researchers speculated that knowing they were chosen to receive prayers may have put them under increased stress.

    ”Did the patients think, ‘I am so sick they had to call in the prayer team?’ ” said Charles Bethea of the Integris Heart Hospital at Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, who helped conduct the study.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: