Books Academic Testing Prayer

Testing Prayer

Testing Prayer
Author: Candy Gunther Brown
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Science and Healing...  When sickness strikes, people around the world pray for healing. Many of the faithful claim that prayer has cured them of blindness, deafness and metastasized cancers, and some believe they have been resurrected from the dead.

Can, and should, science test such claims? A number of scientists say no, concerned that empirical studies of prayer will be misused to advance religious agendas. And some religious practitioners agree with this restraint, worrying that scientific testing could undermine faith.

If prayer affects health -- for better or for worse -- then patients, doctors and policymakers should all want to know. Scientific research has returned mixed results. Some studies conclude that prayer improves health, while others show no effect -- or suggest that prayer may lead to worsening health.

Part of the confusion stems from how prayer is studied. Most research is on distant intercessory prayer. Intercessors are given the first name and condition of someone they do not know and told to pray. Researchers set up double-blinded trials -- because this is how they are accustomed to studying health interventions -- and base conclusions on the efficacy of prayer solely on whether subjects in the experimental group exhibit better health than those in the control group.

Weight 1.30 lbs
ISBN-13: 9780674064676
ISBN-10: 0674064674
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication Date: April 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover book
Page Count: 372 pp
Dimensions: 6 x 9
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