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> Study fails to show healing power of prayer, Science wins again!
Rick
post Mar 30, 2006, 07:06 PM
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March 30, 2006. CHICAGO (Reuters) - A study of more than 1,800 patients who underwent heart bypass surgery has failed to show that prayers specially organized for their recovery had any impact, researchers said on Thursday.

The full story is here:

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle....&archived=False
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Laz
post Mar 31, 2006, 07:15 AM
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Isn't the world ironic ;0) Any belief put to the test is likely to fail because of the nature of beliefs.

I've never seen prayer as anything other than a scam to get a whole bunch of people together in one place of prayer; where countless attrocities can be comitted to the human spirit en mass.

If prayer serves a purpose, it is a personal reflection and self analysis that has nothing to do with anyone else.
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post Mar 31, 2006, 09:06 AM
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So, what do you make of this report involving an experiment in meditation: http://www.alltm.org/pages/crime-arrested.html
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Laz
post Mar 31, 2006, 11:40 AM
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QUOTE
The odds of this result occurring by chance are less than 2 in 1 billion. Rigorous statistical analyses ruled out an extensive list of alternative explanations


The language in the opening part is scewed in a defensive fashion and aimed at the non-believer, why?
Unfortunately the true nature of statistics is that they never show the whole picture, just a particular aspect of it, and by omitting the rest of the statistics they seem to make a point.

How were the odds established, what is their working?

What is rigorous statistical analysis? Does more effort equal a more truthful result?

QUOTE
John Hagelin, lead author ... director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy at Maharishi University.


Now we have idol worship; look at what this man has achieved. With his lofty position and his educated background, who are we to question him?

A quick check on wikipedia reveals that he is a politician and supports the natural law party who believe in yogic flying! I actually voted for them one year cause the competition was pathetic

Reading further shows and i quote:

QUOTE
In 1994 Hagelin was the recipient of an Ig Nobel Prize, which is for "achievements" that "cannot, or should not, be reproduced", i.e., for pseudoscience. In his case the prize was awarded for his experimental conclusion that 4,000 meditators at the Maharishi University of Management caused an 18 percent decrease in crime in Washington, DC.


You see this is a bad start arleady...

Following lots more idol worship blah blah blah and rigorous, and presumably arduous, sweaty, back breaking, and ball busting analysis we arrive at no results, what a surprise.

There is a link to a results page but it is broken.

Buttons, i'm disappointed in you.
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Lao_Tzu
post Apr 05, 2006, 03:55 AM
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Laz

You may ridicule this sort of sentiment, but I think you should not be so quick to dismiss a point of view because its holder is a politician who believes in yogic flying. That constitutes a very poorly directed argument; the technique of ad hominem - an attack against the holder of the view rather than the view itself.

But I'm sure that wasn't the main point of your comment... which was more to do with the plausibility (or lack thereof) of a causal link between sustained group meditation and an apparent drop in crime rates.

Causality and correlation are tricky topics. Perhaps the meditation coincided with a period of lower crime rates (or perhaps the measure of the crime rates was carefully and posthumously chosen to reflect a finding that was to the satisfaction of the study's author). Either way, we'll be quick to put forward that the apparent (and questionable) correlation of group meditation with less crime does not imply the causation of less crime by group meditation.

Every phenomenon in this world seems to be caused, coming into being via causes and conditions, and itself a cause and condition of other phenomena. But how can we isolate one particular event as an "effect" only (such as a drop in crime rates, perhaps), and then suspect that we have discovered what its causes and conditions are (such as group meditation, perhaps)? How can we presume to penetrate the continuous interconnectivities of events and discern some golden thread, like a domino effect, that we believe is the true causal path that led up to an event? (This may seem like nihilism, or excessive doubt, but it is not - it is merely a ruthless examination of the integrity of the intellectual processes upon which we rely for our ideas.) Every 'effect' is also a 'cause', and every such link in the causal chain is subdivisible into further constituents, and all of this analysis (and the opposite process - the synthesis necessary to establish the sort of scientific correlation postulated at http://www.alltm.org/pages/crime-arrested.html) is done conceptually.

For example, suppose I am thirsty, then I drink, and I am no longer thirsty. We suspect my thirst caused the drink. But in fact the 'drink' event could not have happened without the 'lift water bottle' event which was in fact temporally closer to the 'drink' event - was that not then a more valid cause of the 'drink' event than the 'thirst' event? We would give the 'thirst' event causal primacy because that is the way it seems to our perception of the situation; the 'thirst' event is a much more accessible, much more human event than the 'lift water bottle' event (which seems horribly mechanicistic) or even perhaps the 'water flow' event (far too ubiquitous a natural law to be considered a relevant 'cause' in this particular case), or the 'absoroption of water in the digestive system' event (which happens below the level of our ordinary perception).

Nonetheless, were it not for our shrinkingly anthopomorphic instincts of intellect, we could sea each of these events for the equally and supremely significant and insignificant causes and conditions for the 'drink water' event that, in fact, they are (along with everything else in the universe). But if we try to isolate a particular event as being the one cause of an event, then that speculation is anthopomorphic, and the attempt to elevate the ensuing impression of a causal tendency into some sort of natural law is entirely futile. That sort of causality is an idea that corresponds to nothing concrete in the true nature of reality.

In fact all we can posit is general, very tentative ideas. For example, it seems to be the case that sunlight causes warmth. It's useful for us to work with these ideas, purely for convenience. In fact the 'chain' of 'sunlight' to 'warmth' is fraught with anthropomophisms. What gives us the right to speak of 'sunlight' as if it actually existed, for instance? But we can ignore these questions because we can 'discover' photons, quantum electrodynamics, heat energy, radiation, and so forth, and all these theoretical constructs give us the courage to rely upon a sort of theory of sunlight warmth. (We purposefully ignore that all those theories are themselves constructs of imagination).

Group meditation appeared to cause a decrease in crime rates. (The quantification and qualification of what constitutes 'crime rates' is irrelevant - I'm not disputing the validity/invalidity of the 'finding' here.) But we are disinclined to believe this because we have no such discoveries as meditrons, much less peacemeditrons, and no theoretical framework in which to fit an apparent discovery such as this one. It seems absurd that meditation could do such a thing, and equally absurd that prayer could have positive effects.

We reject these things, ostensibly via Occam's Razor, though what we really flinch against is the possibility of having to modify our conceptual edifices to accommodate something that is, as yet, inexpicable. Despite this ignorance and cowardice, more things are possible in this world than we've yet dreamed (yogic flying included).
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post Apr 05, 2006, 07:41 AM
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I couldn't agree with you more. Although your argument is based on a speculative article, your ideas make a lot of sense. Thank you.
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Lao_Tzu
post Apr 05, 2006, 07:43 AM
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QUOTE(code buttons @ Apr 05, 02:41 PM) *

I couldn't agree with you more. Although your argument is based on a speculative article, your ideas make a lot of sense. Thanks you.


Aah, how nice! Irie vibes. Peace and love and all that good stuff.
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Rick
post Apr 05, 2006, 01:10 PM
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I am reminded of the old folk saying:

"If wishes were horses then beggars would ride."

Wishing, hoping, and praying, by themselves are all ineffectual. Only human action can accomplish anything.

The prayer might come first, but it is not necessary. If a man knows that his praying is really to himself, then why should he bother and not go directly to action?
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Laz
post Apr 05, 2006, 03:33 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Apr 05, 07:10 PM) *

If a man knows that his praying is really to himself, then why should he bother and not go directly to action?


A mans mind is a chaotic place, if action is the first thought then a man will rush in where fools dare. If however he spends some time reflecting the self; he will arrive at a "better" action to perform. As with all actions timing is critical.
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Rick
post Apr 05, 2006, 04:49 PM
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QUOTE(Laz @ Apr 05, 01:33 PM) *
... spends some time reflecting the self; ...

So why not call it reflection (instead of prayer)? That other term has a false implication of belief in supernatural.
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Lindsay
post Apr 05, 2006, 05:18 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Apr 05, 01:49 PM) *

QUOTE(Laz @ Apr 05, 01:33 PM) *
... spends some time reflecting the self; ...

So why not call it reflection (instead of prayer)? That other term has a false implication of belief in supernatural.
In the spirit of dialogue, I agree: Let us call it "reflection". I also like to think of all that is--the absolute, the relative and the personal--as natural.
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Rick
post Apr 05, 2006, 05:22 PM
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QUOTE(Lindsay @ Apr 05, 03:18 PM) *
...I also like to think of all that is--the absolute, the relative and the personal--as natural.

Then we agree: there is no supernatural.
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Laz
post Apr 06, 2006, 03:52 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Apr 05, 11:22 PM) *

Then we agree: there is no supernatural.


Reflection is a bit more of an eastern prayer equivalent i think, I agree that the word prayer has a lot of baggage attached to it.

As for the supernatural lets just leave it as a possibility, however not a very likely one. Closest i've come to supernatural things is through drugs, now there's another topic altogether :0)
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diogo
post Aug 08, 2006, 09:38 AM
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Random search after prayer groups and influence in crime rates or the sick lead me to your interesting discussion. I'm just a guest but let me contribute please: we call supernatural to all we have information about but can't understand or explain. Beyond the information we have and share is the unknown. There is no "supernatural", i agree, but not in that way. Two worlds apart but it's the same. We're the ones divided, but i think that we can make a good exercise out of it and grow. I've witnessed a relative who has the 4th grade talk as a doctor and make an medical diagnostic to my mother, through the phone. My mother entered the ER at the hospital and when she got out of the exam the diagnostic was the same... and i have lots of testimonials likewise, unprooved, questioned, impossible for science, supernatural. Friends who commited suicide "appeared" to family and "talked" and explained what they had donne and how they felt about it before their own family told the world what happened. A brother had dreams about the future - nothing special, just being somewhere remotelly probable to be and waking up and saying: "that's a strange dream... why would i be there?" This at an age we were dependent on our parents choices for hollydays. He told me about the dream in the morning after, immediatly after waking up. Months after we were together at a vacation destiny choosen - of couse - by our parents, and he said: "remember that dream i told you? It's this!! In a few seconds the motorcicle should be here..., if it is going to be like the dream..." and there it was: "I told you! Just like in my dream!" Sometimes he would try to faint the dream - "maybe if i do this it won't happen like i dream", but trying to change it would cause it to be just like the dream...
Of course this is all supernatural, how could it be in another way? There are no answers... scientific at least...
Even so i question all this. Cannot find answers. Why it happens only to some people? If they weren't close family would i believe? It exists and with it many more questions rise. We will have plenty of surprises smile.gif if the information reachs us and it is not distorted for some purpose.
Supernatural is our limits tested.

All the best and hope to have contributed for your thoughts,
Diogo (Lisboa, Portugal), for some a member of a strange supernatural or mentally diseased family...
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post Aug 08, 2006, 10:14 AM
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You and your brother should start a business: Dreamland, Inc. "Where your future is in our dreams". Do you mind asking your brother what next weeks jack pot's winning numbers are?... When He wakes up, that is.
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Hey Hey
post Aug 08, 2006, 10:47 AM
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QUOTE(code buttons @ Aug 08, 04:14 PM) *

Dreamland, Inc.

Would that mean commercializing flying saucers? I knew that would happen eventually.

tongue.gif
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rhymer
post Aug 08, 2006, 03:47 PM
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I have read many times of 'unbelievable' events occurring.
They are infrequent in the general population and so they are called supernatural.
I prefer to think of them as natural events (because they occur in Nature) that we do not yet understand or which we fail to classify properly.
In particular, it is exteremly difficult to define whether chance or coincidence could account for seemingly impossible events.
If we could prove that these werer not playing a part we would more inclined to research 'unknown' natural capabilities.
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post Aug 08, 2006, 04:27 PM
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QUOTE(rhymer @ Aug 08, 12:47 PM) *

I have read many times of 'unbelievable' events occurring.
They are infrequent in the general population and so they are called supernatural.
I prefer to think of them as natural events (because they occur in Nature) that we do not yet understand or which we fail to classify properly.
In particular, it is exteremly difficult to define whether chance or coincidence could account for seemingly impossible events.
If we could prove that these werer not playing a part we would more inclined to research 'unknown' natural capabilities.

Funny how speculators manage to keep-up with science in order to continue validating their stories: From people-abducting deamons in the middle ages to people-aducting space aliens in our present. I read somewhere how amused Europeans around the 16th century used to be by electric static. They would purposely brush their clothes hard and repeatedly for fun, just so they could see the static coming from the friction of the two objects. They couldn't explain what it was but it was there as evidence to them of the unexplainable or supernatural.
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OnlyNow
post Aug 08, 2006, 05:49 PM
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QUOTE(code buttons @ Aug 08, 04:27 PM) *

QUOTE(rhymer @ Aug 08, 12:47 PM) *

I have read many times of 'unbelievable' events occurring.
They are infrequent in the general population and so they are called supernatural.
I prefer to think of them as natural events (because they occur in Nature) that we do not yet understand or which we fail to classify properly.
In particular, it is exteremly difficult to define whether chance or coincidence could account for seemingly impossible events.
If we could prove that these werer not playing a part we would more inclined to research 'unknown' natural capabilities.

Funny how speculators manage to keep-up with science in order to continue validating their stories: From people-abducting deamons in the middle ages to people-aducting space aliens in our present. I read somewhere how amused Europeans around the 16th century used to be by electric static. They would purposely brush their clothes hard and repeatedly for fun, just so they could see the static coming from the friction of the two objects. They couldn't explain what it was but it was there as evidence to them of the unexplainable or supernatural.

Yeah, but the sparks emitted when you chew wintergreen Lifesavers in a dark room is supernatural...or maybe it's just super natural.
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firewalker
post Aug 09, 2006, 09:21 AM
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i'm just a guest here, sorry to disrupt your safe "discussion".
silly me thinking i could have an interesting and respectful conversation with strangers. Sooo naive...
I'm really sorry you asked for another direction, and my heartfelt apologies to others having to read this, but:

yes, all you need it's love, and respect for others!
People live, breath, have feelings... Now i understand why the Beatles quote: you are not sharing their message, you're pursuing it, and I hope you succeed.

I'm not hurt by your saying (14 years old type of comment, like the flying saucer one...) but by your disrespectful action which was ugly and speaks for yourself. Toying with my family... with anyone’s family, people you don't know? Just because you cannot picture something you never saw or heard? Where is the scientific approach? And the sense of respect or community?... sad.

Dream inc? Lottery numbers? HAHAHAHAHA. Please, is this a bully comment forum, to try to make fun of others? Always problems with "kids" like you at these forums. Go to a chat and abuse people who want it, i'm not here for that purpose. If you can't, ask me for my personal e-mail and we can discuss it without you making a fool out of yourself in public!

Can you picture things you never experienced? Can you make the exercise and try? Just because someone cannot hear, it doesn't mean that there aren't persons who hear. Ok, the majority of people can hear, it's been proven. Special capabilities, supernatural capabilities: natural capabilities which are uncommon? Trully i do not expect you to believe in what i told, because it's unbelievable to most people and cultures. But i expect respect after exposing private matters.

AS for your arguments, it didn't came across what you wanted to express...
You try to make a fool out of myself and family but did not adress the issues.

Not even a little scientific curiosity for the unknown?

What if you were the ignorant one, struggling to stay inside your comfortable little truth, not having access to any kind of uncommon experiences: does that mean other people cannot have access? hahahahaha!!! There is soooo much more in this world we cannot explain and you will not be able to explain ever... if you make fun of what is unknown to you, you make fun of yourself and of humankind.

As for the flying soucers, it's the same as for this brute here: you seem maybe 11 years old and having a bad day or a light reflection on the matters submited.

PS: a good one would be to say you were only joking... but now...

sad.gif((((((((((((((((

Diogo
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post Aug 09, 2006, 11:42 AM
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QUOTE(firewalker @ Aug 09, 06:21 AM) *

PS: a good one would be to say you were only joking... but now...

sad.gif((((((((((((((((

Diogo

Hush! Hush! Firewalker. This is a science forum, and all posts are taken seriously. But the subject of your argument has been addressed here countless times. I advise that you look over the different threats under the science subject. On that note, though, what's the harm in coloring your comments with a little bit of humor?
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