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Old 10-19-2006, 11:33 PM   #81
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Coincidence. Odd as it may be, what's the liklihood that other people have prayed just as hard and gotten less?

There's also how God's priorities would be seriously misplaced if He tended to a broken computer over starving people in Africa.


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Old 10-19-2006, 11:36 PM   #82
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True. Then of course the arguement could be made that God works through those who do everything they can to provide them aid. Still, and I get the impression this is where Windu has problems with God, what he does and does not do can be very questionable. Where was he on September 11 for example?
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Old 10-20-2006, 12:03 AM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET Warrior
Astounding, as I've found scientific studies showing that prayer doesn't help sick people get better.
http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2...05-prayer.html
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/ar...after_surgery/
The Harvard article above referred to an article from the American Heart Journal:
Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in Cardiac Bypass Patients: A Multicenter Randomized Trial of Uncertainty and Certainty of Receiving Intercessory Prayer
04/19/2006

However, when I looked at the results, patients that were lost to follow up were assumed to have had a complication instead of being dropped from the study, which may have skewed the data.
In addition, people in all 3 groups (including the no outside intercessory prayer group) had friends and relatives praying for them, almost 97% for those in the 'no outside prayer' group. If they wanted to make this a better study, they probably should have found subjects who weren't receiving prayer from any sources, not just outside sources, though that would be exceedingly difficult to do in any large numbers.

I haven't found controlled large studies that limit bias and are constructed well. Some of the studies that prove and disprove the power of prayer are not large enough or aren't well constructed. This abstract pretty much says it all--the jury's still out until there are larger, better done studies.

From Cochrane Review Abstracts
Intercessory prayer for the alleviation of ill health
Posted 07/01/2006
L Roberts
Introduction

Date of Most Recent Substantive Amendment: 2000 01 31
Background

Prayer is an ancient and widely used intervention for alleviating illness and promoting good health. This review focuses specifically on intercessory prayer, which is organised, regular and committed, and those who practise it will almost inevitably hold some committed belief that they are praying to God. Whilst the outcomes of trials of prayer cannot be interpreted as 'proof/disproof' of God's response to those praying, there may be an effect of prayer not dependent on divine intervention. This may be quantifiable, making this investigation of a most widely used health care intervention both possible and important.
Objectives

To review the effectiveness of prayer as an additional intervention for those with health problems already receiving standard medical care.
Search strategy

ATLA (1949-1997), Biological Abstracts (1985-1999), CINAHL (1982-1999), The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group's Register (December 1999), CCTR of the Cochrane Library (Issue 4, 1999), EMBASE (1980-1999), MEDLINE (1966-1999) and PsycLIT (1887-1999), Sociofile (1974-1996) and Sociological Abstracts (1963-1999) were methodically searched. All references of articles selected were searched for further relevant trials.
Selection criteria

Randomised trials of personal, focused, committed and organised intercessory prayer on behalf of anyone with a health problem were considered. Outcomes such as achievement of desired goals, death, illness, quality of life and well-being for the recipients of prayer, those praying and the care-givers were sought.
Data collection and analysis

Studies were reliably selected and assessed for methodological quality. Data were extracted by two reviewers working independently. Dichotomous data were analysed on an intention-to-treat basis.
Main results

There was no evidence that prayer affected the numbers of people dying from leukaemia or heart disease (OR 1.11, CI 0.79-1.56, n=1424). Intercessory prayer did not clearly decrease the odds of people with heart problems experiencing a bad or intermediate outcome (OR 0.8, CI 0.64-1.00, n=1444) but this finding was moved towards the null by inclusion of a negative assumption for those who were dropped from the analysis in one study. Prayer increased the odds of readmission to the Coronary Care Unit (OR 1.54 CI 1.02-2.33, n=1406) but these results are made significantly negative by the inclusion of an assumption of poor outcome for those not accounted for in the final analyses.
Authors' conclusions

Data in this review are too inconclusive to guide those wishing to uphold or refute the effect of intercessory prayer on health care outcomes. In the light of the best available data, there are no grounds to change current practices. There are few completed trials of the value of intercessory prayer, and the evidence presented so far is interesting enough to justify further study.

If prayer is seen as a human endeavour it may or may not be beneficial, and further trials could uncover this. It could be the case that any effects are due to elements beyond present scientific understanding that will, in time, be understood. If any benefit derives from God's response to prayer it may be beyond any such trials to prove or disprove.


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Old 10-20-2006, 12:22 AM   #84
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Actually I was referring the dictionary definitions of the words. However, after consulting it again, I concede I missed a word that allows for your interpretation to have validity. I fully understood what agnostic meant, but missed the inclusion of the term "disbelief in" (versus denies existence of) with respect to atheism. Still, I find it a little hard to accept that you really believe in the possibility of God's existence given many of your derisive comments (delusion, bronze age myth, etc..) you resort to when discussing the idea. However, I'm willing to concede that you are technically correct about the ability to merge the terms together.
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Old 10-20-2006, 12:40 AM   #85
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There's actually a recent study that did a meta-analysis of other studies that's pretty good. The paper (Efficacy of Meditation Techniques) was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine just this month and they chose 20 qualifying studies out of 82. The authors found that illnesses that included symptoms anxiety and mood disruption (PMS, menopause, and the like) potentially responded to meditative techniques (including prayer, yoga, meditation, etc).

The study I was talking about in an earlier post was done by Herbert Benson and his colleages (2006). This is an interesting study because Benson was once very much a proponent of the value of intercessory prayer (this is when one person prays for another). Benson found that there simply was no benefit. There was no statistical significance that favored prayed for over non-prayed for patients. Indeed, patients that knew they were being prayed for were more likely to suffer complications than those that were uncertain they were being prayed for.

One thing that becomes problematic in trying to study prayer is establishing controls. Things like what type of prayer, how long, to what deity is the prayer being addressed, what's the religion of the praying and the prayed for? etc. I don't think I've seen the study that adequately addresses these controls.

Reference

Benson, H.; et al (2006). Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: A multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer. American Heart Journal, 151(4), 934-942.


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Old 10-20-2006, 04:25 AM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
There's also how God's priorities would be seriously misplaced if He tended to a broken computer over starving people in Africa.
Exactly. If god can really allow himself to break/repair someone's PC and not help people with more serious problems then that's one seriously messed up higher being.

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Old 10-20-2006, 04:28 AM   #87
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I don't pretend to know everything, but I believe a Christian would say God has given us free will and especially after Jesus does not intercede. Of course this would fly in the face of what are called 'acts of God' and the issue of just what he intervenes in can be debated to the moon.
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Old 10-20-2006, 06:16 AM   #88
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There's like a ton of possibilities why computers stop working just to continue doing it after power off and on. Memory modules, corroded contacts, capacitors, let alone billiatrizions of transistors and capacitors in each microchip and whatnot. It could be a simple grounding problem of a connected USB memory stick or any connected peripheral component/device. However, it appears to be like a 1:1000000000000000000 chance at maximum for a possible divine intervention.

On the issue of "better health through prayers", the human mind is more powerful then some people might imagine, and the human immune system is very interactive and responsive to the mental state of a person and vice versa. That works very similar to what some call the placebo effect. No divine powers needed here, too.

Of course, if one defines the nature of something called God the "right" way, this all could be considered as "because of God", but still, not as "his work". And most probably this definition would not include the materialisation of a "little purple man running the universe from out his little room located somewhere in subspace or maybe a dark cave on the moon's dark side".

On a side note, I am male and not gay, damnit, why worship a male god? And if I need to ask an old man for something, there's always dad, uncles and my boss. I'd rather prefer a nicely shaped, clever, smartass female one, who I could cook and buy pantees for. Am I the only one feeling like this? :PPP


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Old 10-20-2006, 06:57 PM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinWalker
The study I was talking about in an earlier post was done by Herbert Benson and his colleages (2006). This is an interesting study because Benson was once very much a proponent of the value of intercessory prayer (this is when one person prays for another). Benson found that there simply was no benefit. There was no statistical significance that favored prayed for over non-prayed for patients. Indeed, patients that knew they were being prayed for were more likely to suffer complications than those that were uncertain they were being prayed for.

One thing that becomes problematic in trying to study prayer is establishing controls. Things like what type of prayer, how long, to what deity is the prayer being addressed, what's the religion of the praying and the prayed for? etc. I don't think I've seen the study that adequately addresses these controls.

Reference

Benson, H.; et al (2006). Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: A multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer. American Heart Journal, 151(4), 934-942.
This was the study I quoted above with what I felt were some flaws in study design. Since all 3 groups also got prayed for by friends/relatives in addition to the intercessory prayer, I feel like there was no way to truly separate the group with intercessory prayer from the group without the prayer. Also, any study dropouts got counted as having complications, and I don't think these people should have been counted in either the complications/no complications group because they just didn't know either way.

I agree completely with you on study design, and it's going to be tough to control for everything to get a really solid prayer study done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
I'd rather prefer a nicely shaped, clever, smartass female one, who I could cook and buy pantees for. Am I the only one feeling like this? :PPP
Well, I sure as hell am not feeling like that. Now, I wouldn't be sad if God looked like Orlando Bloom, however, or even better....


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Old 10-20-2006, 07:35 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
I'd rather prefer a nicely shaped, clever, smartass female one, who I could cook and buy pantees for. Am I the only one feeling like this? :PPP
Ray what does your Wife and your offspring think about this?
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Old 10-20-2006, 08:43 PM   #91
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I agree completely with you on study design, and it's going to be tough to control for everything to get a really solid prayer study done.
Try impossible. There will never be a study that will convince religious people of the non-existence of their deity/skydaddy/flying spaghetti monster. There are several reasons why not:

1. No matter how few people are "helped" by prayer in these hypothetical studies, religious folk will always cite one or more variations on the old "God works in mysterious ways," theme in order to support their position that there is a metaphysical being controlling everything. "It was Allah's will that the hemmorhoids of patient number one-four-zero remain extant", or possibly "God answered every single prayer in this study, but fifty per-cent the answers were no", or some other silliness. Sadly (or positively, depending on your point of view), religion is a matter of faith. Not evidence. People don't require evidence to become religious, and evidence is conversely irrelevant to them when it comes to their belief.

2. Sheer investment of the religious circuit. Religious people invest SO much of themselves into their religion that any "proof" that their religion is not the truth will simply be blocked out of their minds. I've seen it in the martial arts and in politics as well as religions. People define themselves by their worship of a deity. Or their study of Wushu or Tae Kwon Do. Or their support of the Democratic party. And very few of these people are even capable of processing any evidence that their beloved belief systems are in any way less than perfect. It's a self-defence mechanism.

3. Religion is- as a rule- based on some pleasant falsehoods. Like "If you do what you're told, you'll end up in a LOVELY PLACE after you die!" How can science compete with promises like that? All science can absolutely promise us is that after we die and are buried, we'll decompose and that what remains of our flesh will be consumed by microbes and soil-dwelling invertebrates. Now that sounds like a par-tay.

Personally, having looked at the same evidence as everyone else, I've come to a rather unique viewpoint. I am now of the opinion that if I live a MORAL life, even if I don't go to church or mosque or synagogue... and if there IS a supreme being out there controlling everything, I'll end up in heaven. Because if it's really an omniscient all-merciful supreme being, it will reward moral people regardless of whether they were dunked in a pond and baptised or whatever.

But if there isn't a supreme omniscient being, I'm still going to live a moral life, because I am a moralist and believe morality has value. So I win either way.

Quote:
On a side note, I am male and not gay, damnit, why worship a male god? And if I need to ask an old man for something, there's always dad, uncles and my boss. I'd rather prefer a nicely shaped, clever, smartass female one, who I could cook and buy pantees for. Am I the only one feeling like this? :PPP
This reminds me of the debate over whether to use a male or female skin in JK. Some people advocated using a female skin, because looking at Kyle Katarn's buttocks all the game through was a bit "ghey". I and other people advocated using a male skin, because using a female skin was a little like cross-dressing. And I think it's the same with your god of choice. Do you imagine your god as an idealised version of yourself, or do you imagine your god as an idealised version of your object of lust?

Bear in mind that most of the players were male back then. Ahh, the mysoginistic old days of JK. Flying spaghetti monster bless em!


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Old 10-20-2006, 08:47 PM   #92
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I downloaded and used an Aayla Secura skin, worked terrifically well.
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Old 10-21-2006, 07:10 PM   #93
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I was trying to determine how to best get the thread back on the topic of "god answers prayers" and off the topic of "i hate god" when the Senate Singularity opened up and swallowed a bunch.

Please stay on topic and reduce the flames a bit. Lets start over.


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Old 10-21-2006, 07:17 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by windu6
Well I see this forum has been taken over by the FCC because my last posts just mysteriously disappear.

Oh well!
Some one want to censor me.

This is no free expression forum.

I bet this will mysteriously disappear too.
Mine did too. Oh well, forums arn't a democracy. That's just the way it is.
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Old 10-23-2006, 04:59 AM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samnmax221
Ray what does your Wife and your offspring think about this?
Oh, errm.. I'm not married.. But the lady would say "Raaaaaayyy!" in an angry tone and then I'd have to bend over and both, girl and god would spank me real well. Oh, yeah.

My daughter, however, would be in bed already, because, you know, "adult time" began two sentences ago. X)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
And I think it's the same with your god of choice. Do you imagine your god as an idealised version of yourself, or do you imagine your god as an idealised version of your object of lust?
Hm. I'd say object of lust because (a) god would be clever enough to see, that in this case, I wouldn't turn away from her because of my urge to spread genes and thus wouldn't let me decide on this matter (of gender) anyway.
And (b) I favour girls, who are not frightened to leave the kitchen to fiddle around with the installation of a universe in their front yard over elder men doing so, and thus I'd chose "object of lust" and wouldn't let her decide regarding this matter anyway. (c) god'd know about (b) that's why she'd give me a big peenis on a "thanks in advance" base.

I'm not sure if both, "idealised me" and "object of lust" describe the same person in the end, I mean except for the gender and the beard. Yes, indeed, my god would be Ray, the woman -- uhm, let me rephrase, Ray, the female twins. ;


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Old 10-24-2006, 08:34 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
Hm. I'd say object of lust because (a) god would be clever enough to see, that in this case, I wouldn't turn away from her because of my urge to spread genes and thus wouldn't let me decide on this matter (of gender) anyway.
And (b) I favour girls, who are not frightened to leave the kitchen to fiddle around with the installation of a universe in their front yard over elder men doing so, and thus I'd chose "object of lust" and wouldn't let her decide regarding this matter anyway. (c) god'd know about (b) that's why she'd give me a big peenis on a "thanks in advance" base.

I'm not sure if both, "idealised me" and "object of lust" describe the same person in the end, I mean except for the gender and the beard. Yes, indeed, my god would be Ray, the woman -- uhm, let me rephrase, Ray, the female twins. ;
Um, I'll pray for the fulfillment of your needs, man.

On a slightly more serious note....
Study design--certainly religious and non-religious folks would utilize or not utilize the study findings to their perceived advantage. Another factor to weed out is the placebo effect, but a decent design can work around that, too.


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