Theme is Humanism: reason, science and skepticism
The power of prayer. Many people believe in the power of petitionary prayer. For example, it is often claim that praying for people with a disease improves their chances of recovery. Yet recent rigorously-conducted large-scale scientific studies do not support this view. Indeed they undermine it. In 2006, American Heart Journal published the results of a $2.4 million experiment involving 1,802 heart-bypass patients, conducted under the leadership of Herbert Benson, a specialist who also believes in the medical efficacy of petitionary prayer. The results were unambiguous: prayer had no beneficial effect. A similar large-scale trial of patients undergoing angioplasty or cardiac catheterization also revealed prayer had no effect. That prayer has beneficial medical effects is a religious belief that can be scientifically tested. Tests strongly suggest it’s false.