Re: Scientific study of the effects of prayer

From: Smigrodzki, Rafal (SmigrodzkiR@MSX.UPMC.EDU)
Date: Tue Oct 02 2001 - 17:30:14 MDT

Robert J. Bradbury wrote:

Furthermore, in vitro fertilization is hardly an unstressful
procedure. Stress is known to shunt resources such as glucose
away from non-essential body systems (e.g. the reproductive
tract, the immune system, etc.) to make them available for the
fight-or-flight response (See books by Robert Sapolsky). So
if prayer serves to alleviate stress by taking the success
of the procedure out of your hands (i.e. it will turn out
according to "God's will" and you have no "real" control over
the situation), then stress levels are likely to be lower
and more resources may be available to allow successful
attachment and growth of the embryo.

No nitwit many-worlds explanation required -- simple applied
endocrinology and physiology.

### But the prayed-for and their doctors reportedly didn't know somebody was
praying for them. How can that be explained by placebo?

If this study is not fraudulent or statistically insignificant, it would
open up new vistas for science. Perhaps scientists could deal some blows to
organized religion (if it turned out that atheists like me could get the
same results as Christians) and find ways of contacting the other branches
of the multiverse, or maybe religion would become another branch of applied
science (if it turned out that the big daddy in the sky is real).

Well, actually it feels to me more like fraud or silliness, after all. But I
will still be looking forward to more news on this subject.

Rafal Smigrodzki, MD-PhD

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