01 April 2006

Background prayer?

If this story had appeared today, instead of a couple of days ago, I would have written it off as a too-subtle April Fool's gag. It's not the main thrust of the story, a Reuters report first drawn to my attention my Matt Nisbet's Framing Science blog, that's suspicious:
CHICAGO - A study of more than 1,800 patients who underwent heart bypass surgery has failed to show that prayers specially organized for their recovery had any impact, researchers said on Thursday.
Nothing new there. But a few paragraphs later we're treated to this gem:
"One caveat is that with so many individuals receiving prayer from friends and family, as well as personal prayer, it may be impossible to disentangle the effects of study prayer from background prayer," Manoj Jain of Baptist Memorial Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, another author of the report.
Background prayer, eh? You mean I'm being bombarded 24/7 by good thoughts over which I have no control? That's got to be some kind of violation of my agnostic rights. Quick! Find me a lawyer before someone saves my soul.

Just to be sure, I checked for anagrams of Manoj Jain, but couldn't find anything meaningful.

2 Comments:

Blogger Dale said...

So it seems we're seeing evidence of diminishing returns to prayer, or maybe just a sharp threshold beyond which additional prayers have no further effect. Call it the "leave me alone already, I heard you the first fifteen times" effect.

Fascinating, but mostly just hilarious.

12:22 PM  
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4:01 AM  

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