Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Damn statistics and all that...

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A survey has found that 57 per cent of American adults, and nearly 20 per cent of doctors, believe that God can reverse the fortunes of a patient with an otherwise terminal diagnosis.

That's a lot of people. If you take a randomly selected sample of 1,000 adults and 774 doctors as representative of the US population.


Anonymous said...

People are idiots.

We're all hard-wired to be superstitious. Whether it's god, horrorscopes or just not walking under ladders.

Wotnogod? said...

A carefully controlled double-blind 'prayer experiment' was conducted in US hospitals (Dawkins recounts the date / results in The God Delusion).

The upshot, somewhat predictably, was that patients' ailments were not affected in any way as a result of being prayed for.

Mind you, 'Our Lady of Fatima' did have a hand in saving Pope John Paul II from a flying bullet that almost killed him. The team of surgeons and doctors were, of course, not credited!

PTET said...

Hey! I saw your post at Planet Atheism.

Surely the point is God can cure whatever he wants. But he doesn't, because either...

(a) he doesn't exist

(b) "he" doesn't exists in any form we'd hope to recognize

(c) he does exist, but he's a bit of a dick - either for reasons beyond out understanding or (everyone's favourite) for our own good.

What's hilarious is that even though most of our politicians and policy makers are religious, and even though most people in the US are religious, the fundies think the problem is that there's not *enough* foaming fundamentalism to get God's attention.

That God - he's one messed up puppy!

Tom Rees said...

There hasn't been much research on the efficacy of prayer. But what there has been shows it doesn't work: http://norvig.com/prayer.html And why should it, of course? What kind of god worth his salt would change his mind as a result of prayer.