Proof #48 - Compare prayer to a lucky horseshoe

The dictionary defines the word "superstition" in this way:

    An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome. [ref]
We have all seen plenty of superstitions. There are the superstitions that a rabbit's foot or a four-leaf clover bring good luck. There are the superstitions that breaking a mirror or seeing a black cat bring bad luck. And we all know that these superstitions are silly. A rabbit's foot or a broken mirror has no good or bad influence on the course of events. This is obvious to any intelligent person.

So let's imagine the following situation. Let's say that you have cancer. You are lying in the hospital after a round of chemo and you feel terrible. A person pops into your room with a bright smile on his face and a horseshoe in his hand. He says to you, "This is an amazing and lucky horseshoe. If you touch this horseshoe, it will cure your cancer. But I need to charge you $100 to touch it."

Would you pay the man $100?

Of course not. We all know that touching the horseshoe will have zero effect on cancer. The belief in lucky horseshoes is pure superstition.

It is also very easy to scientifically prove that the horseshoe has no effect on cancer (or anything else). The way we would do it is simple: we would take 1,000 cancer patients and split them randomly into two groups of 500. We would let 500 of the cancer patients touch the lucky horseshoe and we would leave the other 500 alone in a double-blind way. Then we would look at cancer remission rates between the two groups. What we would find is zero benefit from the horseshoe. We would see no statistical difference between the remission rates in the two groups of 500 patients.

Prayer

Now let us imagine another situation. You have cancer, you have just finished a round of chemo and you feel terrible. This time, a person pops into your room with a bright smile on his face and a bible in his hand. He says to you, "There is a being named God who is the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe. I am his representative on earth. If you will allow me to pray to God on your behalf, God will cure your cancer."

You agree to the prayer, and the man prays over you for 10 minutes. He invokes all the healing powers of God, beseeching him, reciting verses of scripture and so forth. Afterwards, as he is getting ready to leave, the man says, "Oh, and by the way, God says that you should tithe 10% of your income to the church. Would you consider making a tax-deductible donation today?"

The question is: Is there any difference between the two men? Will the prayer have any effect greater than the horseshoe?

The answer is: No. The belief in prayer is just as superstitious as the belief in lucky horseshoes.

The fascinating thing is that we can prove that prayer has no effect in exactly the same way that we can prove that horseshoes have no effect. We take 1,000 cancer patients. We pray over 500 of them and we leave the other 500 alone. Then we look at cancer remission rates between the two groups. What we find is that prayers have zero benefit. We would see no statistical difference between the remission rates in the two groups of 500 patients.

In other words, we can prove that the belief in prayer is pure superstition. The belief in the power of prayer is no different from the belief in the power of lucky horseshoes.

These experiments have been performed many times, and they always return the same results. Click here for one of the most recent experiments:

Or listen as John Stewart describes the study:

Quite simply, prayer has absolutely no effect on the outcome of any event. The "power of prayer" is actually "the power of coincidence." Belief in prayer is pure superstition.

Prayer has absolutely no effect in every scientific experiment we perform because God is imaginary.

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by Marshall Brain

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