Re: Scientific study of the effects of prayer

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Oct 02 2001 - 16:11:30 MDT

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> I've now reread the article, rather than just glancing at
> it as I did originally. I agree with Eliezer that it seems
> to be a well designed experiment (though it would be nice
> to have the actual published paper instead of the distilled
> version). My original comments regarding a possible placebo
> effect do not seem to apply. As Eliezer says, if the result
> is reproducible, and not a statistical fluke, it is one heck of
> a result and could significantly rock the foundations of science.

When quoting me on this subject, please try to note that I believe this
experiment to be well-designed because it is falsifiable and I expect it
to be falsified. In other words, I am praising the very easy
falsifiability of the experiment and its unambiguous claims, but my own
knowledge of the universe leads me to believe that the experiment will not
be reproduced.

> If the result turns out to be repeatable, I'd argue that
> the probability we are living in a simulation just got
> a lot higher.

If it's only prayer that works - i.e., atheists wishing very hard have no
effect - then that would seem to be the inevitable conclusion.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:11 MDT