Heather Keith Freeman (jnanacandra) wrote,
Heather Keith Freeman

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science and prayer; statistics rant

Effect of Double-Blinded Prayer on In Vitro Fertilization

Fascinating. I've seen other studies that indicate similar things. On the one hand, I think it's wonderful that the possibility of paranormal abilities is starting to be investigated scientifically; on the other hand, I'm afraid that since all of these studies have involved prayer, that they will end up being construed to be proof of a Christian god, rather than the power of mind. Of course, in most cases prayer is probably more powerful since it has blind faith behind it. I'd like to see a study set up the same way as this one, but instead of people praying they are focusing/meditating on good outcomes for the patients. Or they're all praying to Bast, or Freyja.

This also lends credence to the time my parents and I came under psychic attack because some Christian friends of theirs had just found out they were Wiccan, and were praying for us to 'find the light'. Gah.


The article did annoy me, however, because it failed to mention a standard deviation - it just gave the success rates for the two groups, and how many people were in each. Without a standard deviation, that information is *meaningless*. Granted, it was published in a reputable journal, so I'm sure the difference was statistically significant - but I'd rather have numbers to go on. Of course, most people don't even know what a standard deviation is, which is why it gets left out most of the time. Sigh.

Y'know, I hated hated HATED stats classes in school. But now I am so amazingly glad I learned that stuff. I can actually tell the difference between a half-assed ask-your-friends-a-couple-of-biased-questions poll and a legitimate study.

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