Randomized God

February, 14, 2012 | 9 Comments


  1. Hello,
    I was at your lecture in Ghent this evening. I read on your website about the test with prayers from which patients would benefit.
    This is strange for me as the philosophers Johan Braeckman, professor at the University Ghent, and Maarten Boudry, docorate student at the same uni, have recently talked about the testing but they reported a negative effect by prayers!
    According to them this could be caused by stress inflicted to the patients because they were supposed to get better because they were prayed for.
    Are you aware of these studies ?
    Could you inform me or contact the named professor to share information?
    Thanks in advance
    Herman Blondeel

  2. Perhaps because intercessory prayer was not patented, its effects didn’t hold up. And the negative studies were indeed published. To use just one example, this is the exact opposite of what I remember seeing when looking at AstraZeneca’s internal documents on Seroquel’s efficacy and safety.

    I was part of two meta-analyses on the efficacy of distant intercessory prayer. We found the effect of this type of praying was nonexistent.

    Masters KS, Spielmans GI, Goodson JT (2006). Are there demonstrable effects of distant intercessory prayer? A meta-analytic review. Ann Behav Med. 32(1):21-6.

    Masters KS, Spielmans GI (2007). Prayer and health: review, meta-analysis, and research agenda. J Behav Med. 30(4):329-38

  3. 1) Patient wants prayer, doesnt get prayer.
    2)Patient wants prayer, gets prayer a) Feels grateful, gets better. b) Feels stress-guilt (Herman Blondeel), gets worse.
    3)Patient wants prayer, gets prayer but the “wrong” religion.
    4)Patient doesn`t care, doesnt get prayer
    5)Patient doesn`t care, gets prayer
    6)Patient does NOT want prayer, doesnt get prayer
    7)Patient does NOT want prayer, gets prayer. a) Feels angry at prayer, then gets well as a result of having something else to think-worry-stress about.

  4. A wonderful paper on this topic has been sent in by Michael Millenson: Sloan RP, Ramakrishnan R (2006). Science, Medicine & Intercessory Prayer. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 49, 504-514.

  5. Or maybe if enough people pray for someone, NASA in heaven gets to hear and sends a therapeutic electric, electro-magnetic or ultrasound current to heal them. We can live in hope.

  6. FROM PubMed.gov
    J Psychosom Res. 2000 Apr-May;48(4-5):323-37.
    Going to the heart of the matter: do negative emotions cause coronary heart disease?
    Kubzansky LD1, Kawachi I.
    Author information
    Negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, and depression, have emerged as potentially important risk factors for coronary heart disease. The purpose of this article is to consider the nature and function of emotions, to review epidemiological evidence for an association between the three negative emotions and coronary heart disease (CHD), to discuss briefly the mechanisms by which emotions may be linked to CHD, and to consider this evidence in light of theoretical insights provided by mainstream psychological research on emotions.
    We collected articles published between 1980 and 1998 on the relationship between each negative emotion and CHD. We also collected review articles or chapters published during the same time period that considered mechanisms by which emotions may increase CHD risk. We used a qualitative approach to review the published literature.
    Evidence that anxiety is involved in the onset of CHD is strongest, whereas evidence for an association between anger and CHD is limited but suggestive. Although depression has consistently been linked to mortality following a myocardial infarction, evidence for its role in the onset of coronary disease is quite mixed. Numerous unresolved issues leave our current understanding of the emotion-health relationship incomplete. Psychological theories of emotion are considered to help address gaps in our knowledge.
    Growing evidence indicates that negative emotions may influence the development of CHD. The focused and specific consideration of negative emotions and their possible role in the etiology of CHD gives insight into current knowledge and suggests important directions for future research.###

    My comment: If negative emotions can contribute to the development of heart disease, then conversely, would not POSITIVE emotions (or a positive prayer) contribute to the improvement (or prevention) of heart (and other disease)? From proverbs: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

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