The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Nazi Air Marker Hoax, 1942
Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951
Life discovered on the moon, 1835
The Gallery of Fake Viral Images
Man flies by own lung power, 1934
Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
The Crown Prince Regent of Thulia, 1954
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Fake Photos of Very Large Animals
The Power of Prayer
Back in October 2001 the prestigious Journal of Reproductive Medicine published an article titled "Does Prayer Influence the Success of in Vitro Fertilization–Embryo Transfer?" (the journal appears to have removed this article from its server). The apparent answer to the question posed in the title was 'Yes!' In other words, empirical research appeared to demonstrate that praying could help infertile women conceive. So tough luck if you were an infertile atheist. But a recent article in The Observer reveals that this prayer study was nothing more than a sham. The author of the article, Daniel Wirth, is a serial con-artist, now living under house arrest in California, who possesses no scientific credentials whatsoever. It boggles the mind why the JRM ever published something like this. As Bob Carroll of the Skeptic's Dictionary points out, never mind that the research was fraudulent. The entire premise of it was self-contradictory. He notes:
If prayer works by influencing God to influence the outcome of an experiment, then God can interfere with the laws of nature at any time. If God can interfere with the laws of nature at any time, then no controlled, double-blind study can be sure of the meaning of whatever outcome results. Any result could be the result of direct influence by God. In other words, the assumption the study is based on is self-defeating. No science at all would be possible if God could be interfering with the laws of nature at will. Science requires a backdrop of lawfulness in Nature in order to discover any causal connection between anything and anything else.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Religion, Science
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 11, 2004
Comments (1)
What the hell was that Journal thinking? I mean, why not just pray to NOT be infertile in the first place? wink
Posted by Amy  in  Boston  on  Sat Jun 12, 2004  at  09:00 PM
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