Scrappleface does an admirable job of summarizing a recent news story on prayer.
March 31, 2006
Prayer Study: Humans Fail to Manipulate God
by Scott Ott
(2006-03-31) â€” A team of scientists today ended a 10-year study on the so-called â€œpower of prayerâ€ by concluding that God cannot be manipulated by humans, not even by scientists with a $2.4 million research grant.
The scientists also noted that their work was â€œsabotaged by religious zealotsâ€ secretly praying for study subjects who were supposed to receive no prayer.
The allegations came at a news conference where researchers announced their findings that intercessory prayer by two Roman Catholic religious communities and a group from the Missouri-based Unity church failed to produce better results for patients recovering from heart surgery.
â€œAs it turns out, God was not impressed by our academic credentials, our substantial funding base, and our rigorous study protocols,â€ said lead researcher Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiologist and director of the Mind/Body Medical Institute near Boston. â€œI get the feeling we just spent 10 years looking through the wrong end of the telescope.â€
While patients who knew they were the targets of the studyâ€™s intercessory prayer team actually had more post-operative complications, Dr. Benson admitted he failed to prevent friends and relatives from praying for the â€œno prayerâ€ control group.
â€œIt really burns me up that we worked so hard, only to be undermined by an anonymous army of intellectual weaklings on their knees,â€ he said.
Dr. Benson said he would now seek $10 million in grants to explore whether fire can be called down from heaven to kindle a pile of wood. The control groupâ€™s wood will be drenched in water to prevent combustion.