When Science Meets Prayer: Researchers Set Up Study On Coronavirus Patients

Written by Wes Walker on May 4, 2020

Even the staunchest skeptics — if they get past the headline and see the way it’s designed can hardly complain about it.

Nobody is being put at risk. No standard medical treatment is being withheld. Nobody’s health is in the slightest jeopardy. In fact, those being studied don’t even know it’s happening.

The Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute is testing 1,000 patients in intensive care with the contagion — with half getting a “universal” prayer offered in five denominational forms.

The four-month study will then compare death rates as well as time in ICU and on ventilators.

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“We all believe in science, and we also believe in faith,” the study’s lead investigator, cardiologist Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, told NPR.

“If there is a supernatural power, which a lot of us believe, would that power of prayer and divine intervention change the outcomes in a concerted fashion? That was our question.”

He stressed, “It has to be a true supernatural intervention.” —NYPost

It’s an intensive care version of Paschal’s wager. If there is nothing to prayer, then no harm done, but if there IS something to it, that’s good news for the guy getting prayed for.

Our main objection is the qualifier they’re putting out there. ‘True supernatural intervention’ sounds an awful lot like the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy. Worse, it’s an entirely subjective measurement.

A more neutral method would simply be to compare the health outcomes of the prayed-for group against the control group. If the difference is statistically significant, you have the basis for further investigation of the topic.

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