This is annoying. Despite most studies indicating there’s nothing to this nonsense—and a couple that did seem to indicate it works ended up being deeply flawed—the money keeps flowing into studies of the effect of prayer on distance healing:
The federal government has spent $2.2 million in the past five years on studies of distant healing, which have also drawn support from private foundations.
“I would like to see us stop wasting precious research dollars putting religious practices to the test of science,” Sloan said. “It’s a waste of money, and it trivializes the religious experience.”
Even some advocates of incorporating more prayer and spirituality into medicine agree.
“I don’t see how you could quantify prayer—either the results of it or the substance of it,” said the Rev. Raymond J. Lawrence of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. “God is beyond the reach of science. It’s absurd to think you could use it to examine God’s play.”
Perhaps most important, many scientists say, is that there is no rational explanation for how this kind of prayer might work.
“There’s nothing we know about the physical universe that could account for how the prayers of someone in Washington, D.C., could influence the health of a group of people in Iowa—nothing whatsoever,” Sloan said.
What’s really sad about this is reading some of the kooky attempts at coming up with a scientific basis for the possibility that remote praying might actually do something:
Proponents often cite a phenomenon from quantum physics, in which distant particles can affect each other’s behavior in mysterious ways.
“When quantum physics was emerging, Einstein wrote about spooky interactions between particles at a distance,” Krucoff said. “That’s at least one very theoretical model that might support notions of distant prayer or distant healing.”
This is one of the things that really bugs the shit out of me about a lot of True Believers™. When science doesn’t agree with their preconceptions (e.g. the Theory of Evolution) then there’s no end to the derision and belittling of science regardless of how much evidence there may be, but when they can use some esoteric aspect of science that they only have a meager grasp on to support their preconceptions then it may as well have been carved in stone as being true by the hand of God himself.
So prayer can heal people at a distance because of some “spooky” interaction between particles under Quantum Mechanics? Wow! That’s just such a great theory! It actually makes the Intelligent Design Theory seem somewhat well thought-out.
Give me a break. Pray all you want if it makes you feel better and keeps your dumb ass off the streets, but until you can come up with a reasonable theory on how it supposedly actually helps then stop wasting tax money.