I have read about a study that was conducted at a (the name escapes me for the moment) medical school concerning the benefits of prayer.
Basically, a devoted religious group (the specification of which also escapes me for the moment) spent a designated period of time praying for terminally ill patients (cancer).
There were two sets of four groups (of patients). Two groups of patients were prayed for, and the other two were control groups (nobody prayed for them).
Now apparently, the two groups who were prayed for actually showed signs of remission, whereas the control groups did not.
This test has supposedly been replicated and similiar (if not identical) results have been found.
Now supposing that large scale studies show statistically significant results in favour of prayer, what exactly is going on here?
I could understand if individuals were praying for themselves and they got better - this wouldn’t be completely lost on me since neurological systems and immune systems are wired together in a human being. It makes sense to think a happy state of mind could cause a release of chemicals (say endorphins) that boost (or at least give a sort of “jolt”) to your immune system.
However, how in the living heck can a group of disjointed (as in, not directly attached to the individual) people’s prayers possibly affect the immune system of a patient? IT MAKES NO SENSE!!! I mean, how can it possibly affect another individual? It’s almost akin to saying pure thought alone is causing some physical reaction in somebody else’s body.
Okay, please give me the S.D.
#1: Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of the article that I gleened this information from, however I have heard of the study’s popularity, so I am hoping that some of the smarties (or well-informed) on this board will have come across them
#2: I tried Googling, but it only gives stuff with various religious affiliations - not really the source we are looking for.
#3: In the case mentioned above, the patients were not informed whether or not they were being prayed for - so they had no idea (and could not react accordingly - just in case that’s what you were thinking)