Author Topic: New Study on Prayer  (Read 2436 times)

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Offline Bizzlebin

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New Study on Prayer
« on: April 02, 2006, 04:53:28 PM »
There has just been a new study on prayer, and I thought it very interesting!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/30/AR2006033000902.html

The gist of the study is that after praying for 1,800 heart patients, Catholic and Protestant prayers did nothing. In one group, the prayers worsened the patients' conditions by 12 percent! All I could say to that was wow :o
« Last Edit: April 02, 2006, 04:55:08 PM by Bizzlebin »
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Offline augustin717

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2006, 06:56:52 PM »
Do you imply that those prayers did nothing or worse, precisely because they were said by Catholics and Protestants?
Do you think that the Orthodox would have passed the test?

Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2006, 07:01:31 PM »
Do you imply that those prayers did nothing or worse, precisely because they were said by Catholics and Protestants?

Do you think that the Orthodox would have passed the test?

No, I don't necessarily imply that, but it could be drawn as a conclusion depending on how one interprets the results.

As a recent thread with article showed, Orthodox crossing killed bacteria, and holy water also had anti-bacterial properties. Orthodoxy "works," so to speak.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2006, 07:03:14 PM by Bizzlebin »
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Offline DavidH

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2006, 07:32:40 PM »
There has just been a new study on prayer, and I thought it very interesting!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/30/AR2006033000902.html

The gist of the study is that after praying for 1,800 heart patients, Catholic and Protestant prayers did nothing. In one group, the prayers worsened the patients' conditions by 12 percent! All I could say to that was wow :o

  Sincere non-Orthodox could still have their prayers answered (perhaps they would be on the same path as the centurion Cornelius whose prayers were heard even when he did not have yet the fullness of the True Faith. His prayers were heard because God hears the prayers of all who are fully committed to Him who is no respector of persons. What standard did the control group of prayers have to pass? Perhaps there were a lot of merely nominal believers there. And perhaps the "prayees" were composed of an abnormally high percentage of souls whose time had come.................

Offline jlerms

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2006, 07:37:33 PM »
Here, here DavidH!  I believe that our God will here the prayers of all who ask him with an open heart.  I am so happy to have found the Orthodox Church but I still feel that God has mercy on ALL of mankind and listens to those who call upon His name.

Juliana

Offline augustin717

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2006, 07:42:27 PM »
Quote
As a recent thread with article showed, Orthodox crossing killed bacteria, and holy water also had anti-bacterial properties. Orthodoxy "works," so to speak
Don't you think that this kind of understanding of the faith, as  revealed by that study, would be more fitting for the sect of Scientology than for the Orthodox Church?
You probably know that troparion which says:"O Lord thou hast given us Thy Cross as a weapon against the devil..."; against bacteria we have the weapon of the soap  ;D
« Last Edit: April 02, 2006, 07:45:37 PM by augustin717 »

Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2006, 07:42:58 PM »
 Sincere non-Orthodox could still have their prayers answered (perhaps they would be on the same path as the centurion Cornelius whose prayers were heard even when he did not have yet the fullness of the True Faith. His prayers were heard because God hears the prayers of all who are fully committed to Him who is no respector of persons. What standard did the control group of prayers have to pass? Perhaps there were a lot of merely nominal believers there. And perhaps the "prayees" were composed of an abnormally high percentage of souls whose time had come.................

Well, the results speak for themselves, there must not have been any/many "exceptions" here if what you say is applicable. Anyways, in regards to the groups of patients, there were three: one control, one with prayer but no knowledge of it, and one with both prayer and knowledge of it. The way the article is written, it seems that the prayers groups were chosen from faithful (perhaps even "prayer team") members, and not simply congregations as a whole. They all prayed 14 days. (All this is in the article, by the way)
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Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2006, 07:46:38 PM »
Don't you think that this kind of understanding of the faith, as that revealed by that study, would be more fitting for the sect of Scientology than for the Orthodox Church?
You probably know that troparion which says:"O Lord thou hast given us Thy Cross as a weapon against the devil..."; against bacteria we have the weapon of the soap  ;D

I am not saying that we should base our faith wholly on science, or that it trumps Holy Tradition in any way, only that it is a tool God has given us, and we might as well make use of it. There doesn't seem to be anything that would invalidate the study, and it doesn't contradict the Orthodox Church (in fact, it may bolster Orthodoxy's claims of exclusivity depending on how you see the results).
Fashions and opinions among men may change, but the Orthodox tradition remains ever the same, no matter how few may follow it.

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Offline TomS

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2006, 08:17:40 PM »
I believe God either does not hear our prayers, or he simply refuses to do anything about them. If you think your prayers are answerd by God, then you are mistaken. Either you did something to make it turn out the way you wanted, or it is just luck, or you clicked into the common consciousness that we all share.

We are on our own. Stuck with only each other. To fend for ourselves. There is no help from anyone or anything outside of ourselves.

Kick the crutch out from under your arm.

Offline DavidH

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2006, 08:21:50 PM »
Well, the results speak for themselves, there must not have been any/many "exceptions" here if what you say is applicable. Anyways, in regards to the groups of patients, there were three: one control, one with prayer but no knowledge of it, and one with both prayer and knowledge of it. The way the article is written, it seems that the prayers groups were chosen from faithful (perhaps even "prayer team") members, and not simply congregations as a whole. They all prayed 14 days. (All this is in the article, by the way)


 ÃƒÆ’‚  In this kind of study I think the results can't speak for themselves. Like the Bible, they need interpretation. The "Providence Factor" is too large. The people on whom the prayers didn't work might have just been at the end of their time, or still learning whatever they needed to know or experience in their current situation. And the pray-ers might not have been successful in their prayers for any number of reasons. It's not a big deal and the study is interesting as far as it goes though I would hate to see someone (not anyone here, of course) inflate its importance and conclude God doesn't answer prayer..........

 ÃƒÆ’‚  Perhaps the best way to assess this type of study is to treat its results AS IF all the pray-ers were practicing Orthodox who ended up with the same results.

In Christ,
Rd. David

Offline DavidH

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2006, 08:23:22 PM »
I believe God either does not hear our prayers, or he simply refuses to do anything about them. If you think your prayers are answerd by God, then you are mistaken. Either you did something to make it turn out the way you wanted, or it is just luck, or you clicked into the common consciousness that we all share.

We are on our own. Stuck with only each other. To fend for ourselves. There is no help from anyone or anything outside of ourselves.

Kick the crutch out from under your arm.

   You must be right......... I was praying you wouldn't say that...........and yet, you did :-(

Offline TomS

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2006, 08:27:04 PM »
ÂÂ  You must be right......... I was praying you wouldn't say that...........and yet, you did :-(

Woooh! Hold on there it is simply my opinion. Does not mean it is right.

Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2006, 08:40:57 PM »
  In this kind of study I think the results can't speak for themselves. Like the Bible, they need interpretation. The "Providence Factor" is too large. The people on whom the prayers didn't work might have just been at the end of their time, or still learning whatever they needed to know or experience in their current situation. And the pray-ers might not have been successful in their prayers for any number of reasons. It's not a big deal and the study is interesting as far as it goes though I would hate to see someone (not anyone here, of course) inflate its importance and conclude God doesn't answer prayer..........

   Perhaps the best way to assess this type of study is to treat its results AS IF all the pray-ers were practicing Orthodox who ended up with the same results.

Of course there is the "Providence Factor" but does not God extend life for those who ask? It has been done many times before. As for the people praying not being successful, this is why each group was composed of many people, to avoid one unfaithful person. This means no one in the groups, who were specifically chosen for this, was answered by God, pure and simple.

When a study with Orthodox Christians and prayer, other than the one already done in regerds to germicidal properties and whatnot, is done, then we can talk about it.
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Offline TomS

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2006, 08:58:18 PM »
..but does not God extend life for those who ask? It has been done many times before.

You have proof of this? Is it possible that you are linking things together that have no relationship? False logic, I think.

I mean, you could say "I believe that.." But to say "WE KNOW" is absolute bunk. We don't know.

« Last Edit: April 02, 2006, 09:08:03 PM by TomS »

Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2006, 09:16:52 PM »
You have proof of this? Is it possible that you are linking things together that have no relationship? False logic, I think.

Proof as in the Bible, the writings of the fathers, etc?
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Offline Ebor

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2006, 09:24:06 PM »
No, I don't necessarily imply that, but it could be drawn as a conclusion depending on how one interprets the results.

Or it could be that the researchers didn't *know* about EO/OO or couldn't get a group of that alignment.

Quote
As a recent thread with article showed, Orthodox crossing killed bacteria, and holy water also had anti-bacterial properties. Orthodoxy "works," so to speak.

One report from one source is not "showing" anything.  It is an assertion. I have read EO on various fora who do not believe it either.

Ebor
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Offline TomS

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2006, 09:25:20 PM »
Proof as in the Bible, the writings of the fathers, etc?

Nope. There is only faith and yearning for "proof" that there IS a God who cares.

Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2006, 09:26:12 PM »
Or it could be that the researchers didn't *know* about EO/OO or couldn't get a group of that alignment.

One report from one source is not "showing" anything.  It is an assertion. I have read EO on various fora who do not believe it either.

It is irrelevant how or why no OO/EO were included. The fact is that they were not.

Then you would be happy to provide proof to the contrary?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2006, 09:27:01 PM by Bizzlebin »
Fashions and opinions among men may change, but the Orthodox tradition remains ever the same, no matter how few may follow it.

-- Fr. Seraphim Rose

Offline Ebor

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2006, 09:41:45 PM »
It is irrelevant how or why no OO/EO were included. The fact is that they were not.

If there were no EO/OO praying then there is no data in that study as to the efficacy of their prayers.  Therefore assertions that such *would* be effective are without scientific basis.

Quote
Then you would be happy to provide proof to the contrary?

Since I do not have the study before me for analysis, nor do I know whether the persons mentioned actually exist, how can such "proof" be given? Those making an assertion are the ones who are supposed to prove things.   Proving a hypothesis is the job of the scientists involved.  Using the maxim of "Extraordinary claims required at least *ordinary* evidence and proof", one article in a news service (that was also promulgating the "dead man sewed up" story with additions) is not proof that any of it is true.

Ebor
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Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2006, 10:04:34 PM »
If there were no EO/OO praying then there is no data in that study as to the efficacy of their prayers.  Therefore assertions that such *would* be effective are without scientific basis.

Since I do not have the study before me for analysis, nor do I know whether the persons mentioned actually exist, how can such "proof" be given? Those making an assertion are the ones who are supposed to prove things.   Proving a hypothesis is the job of the scientists involved.  Using the maxim of "Extraordinary claims required at least *ordinary* evidence and proof", one article in a news service (that was also promulgating the "dead man sewed up" story with additions) is not proof that any of it is true.

There is not data in that study, sure. But that study nonetheless provides useful data for other groups, which is the primary focus of the thread.

Well, if any sort of retraction or evidence to the contrary is made available, then do post it. Not being able to personally analyze the study may be cause for concern, but it is hardly a basis for its complete rejection.
Fashions and opinions among men may change, but the Orthodox tradition remains ever the same, no matter how few may follow it.

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Offline Ebor

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2006, 10:21:59 PM »
There is not data in that study, sure. But that study nonetheless provides useful data for other groups, which is the primary focus of the thread.

It might, or it might not. This is one study.  It is not necessarily definitive.

Quote
Well, if any sort of retraction or evidence to the contrary is made available, then do post it. Not being able to personally analyze the study may be cause for concern, but it is hardly a basis for its complete rejection.

One article on the Internet does not mean that what is reported is True.  Not accepting the claims of an article is not the same as "complete rejection".  Have you seen anything about it besides the one article?  Why is that sufficient evidence?  Why shouldn't an extraordinary claim be questioned?  Why should it be accepted at face value?  

You wish to believe it.  Others do not see it as proven.

Ebor
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Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: New Study on Prayer
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2006, 10:43:16 PM »
It might, or it might not. This is one study.  It is not necessarily definitive.

One article on the Internet does not mean that what is reported is True.  Not accepting the claims of an article is not the same as "complete rejection".  Have you seen anything about it besides the one article?  Why is that sufficient evidence?  Why shouldn't an extraordinary claim be questioned?  Why should it be accepted at face value?  

You wish to believe it.  Others do not see it as proven.

Ebor

I am not asserting one study is definitive, only that one study provides a large amount of evidence that must be considered.

I think you are confusing the claim and the evidence. The claim is that Orthodox prayer and crossing has power, and the study is the evidence. However, there is not simply "one article" on it. There are already a few sites on it in English, and there are likely more in Russian, but one of the Russian-speakers would have to check that out and confirm it. The study being conducted in Russian, I am not sure there is going to be too much on it in English for some time.

I am naturally skeptical of these things too, don't assume I simply "want to believe it" and that is my proof. However, after some time, I still have seen no arguements (credible or even otherwise) that challenege the validity of this research. With the amount of buzz something like this generates, one would expect to see many such arguements, as is the norm with similar research/experiments. I have seen none. I am quite willing to accept that this maybe false; I have no problem in saying that it is (and that I am) wrong. I only ask for some type of evidence first.
Fashions and opinions among men may change, but the Orthodox tradition remains ever the same, no matter how few may follow it.

-- Fr. Seraphim Rose