Heather Keith Freeman (jnanacandra) wrote,
Heather Keith Freeman
jnanacandra

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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.

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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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