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Susie*Bee
06-03-2008, 07:20 PM
Well, I promised Pooka that I would respond with something about the efficacy of prayer and its role with medicine (and note—I mean WITH, not IN PLACE of medicine) so here goes.

Pooka1 made the following statement in post #3 here: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showthread.php?t=7386

“I'll tell you what mystifies me.... that an adult can believe intercessory prayer works. Pony up the peer-reviewed articles if you think it does.”

And this, from post #20 here: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showthread.php?t=7356&page=2&pp=15

“How would you ever prove a good outcome was due to the prayers of a random confused, ignorant, 11 year old girl?

How would anyone ever "learn" that? Propose a method so that we can test that so we can "learn" that.

I love it how on the one hand folks demand evidence-based medicine for themselves and their kids but rely on fairy stories in other facets of their life where the rubber doesn't have to hit the road. Why don't you pray to be healed and forget about modern medicine? One could be forgiven for thinking that is very hypocritical.

My horse had a serious injury/condition and has been steadily improving though months of rehab through the power of no prayer whatsoever. :D

How would you explain that?

Also, how do you explain how a good, loving god lets little kids get scoliosis and all other afflictions in the first place? You can have that god.

Can you even attempt to be intellectually honest? Do you know what it means to be intellectually honest? It starts with NOT claiming to know things you can't possibly know. There is NO evidence that intercessory prayer works and plenty of evidence that it does not. You are a victim of inculcation.

In actuality, there have indeed been research studies conducted on prayer and its possible role in medicine, and published in legitimate journals all around the world, as well as being the subject of many books. These studies sometimes prove one way, sometimes another. They are all good food for thought. They do exist.

My intention is to just provide some resources that people can look at—others can post some as well, and then people can read and think about what has been presented. For some, this may reconfirm their present views. Others may be looking at information they didn’t know existed. Regardless of our individual stands, I hope this can be a thread for exploring ideas and not an emotional battlefield for pushing agendas without respecting others’ beliefs, whether they be based on a recognized religion or a non-religious world view. I also think it is perfectly acceptable if we share our own belief, as long as we do so without expecting others to also share our view. I find it interesting to see what other people think. I will post my views on prayer in the next post, so that others may understand where I’m coming from. This is not an open invitation for slaughter, just sharing.

I am not narrowing “prayer” down to any specific faith—you can read these studies and determine if the individual studies have done that or not. Again, this is just a starting point. Please feel free to post links you find. This is for sharing ideas.

1. http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/186_10_210507/jan11101_fm.html

(same study, different journal)
2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17516884?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=5&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

3. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/10/health/10prayer.html?hp&ex=1097467200&

4. http://ijahsp.nova.edu/articles/Vol2num1/kutz-prayer.htm

5. http://www.plim.org/PrayerDeb.htm

6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12119627?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=5&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

7. http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2006/04.06/05-prayer.html

8. http://www.mercola.com/article/prayer/dossey.htm

9. http://www.texnews.com/1998/religion/med1003.html

Susie*Bee
06-03-2008, 07:27 PM
MY VIEWS ON PRAYER—PLEASE DON’T READ THIS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ ABOUT MY “RELIGION”!
I will state my own belief about prayer as I see it in my life—which is that it is communication with God—the one true and living God, who sent his Son Jesus to live here on earth for awhile and to die on the cross for us… prayer provides an opportunity for us to petition on behalf of others. He does not always answer prayer in the way we might want, but He does answer it—in His time and in His way. We live in a fallen world where there is sickness and evil. He is a loving God, but he does not intervene and stop all that is happening here. We do not have to understand why he intervenes sometimes and not other times. We can have faith in him regardless. For some of you who know the Old Testament account found in the book of Daniel, chapter 3, of the 3 men in the fiery furnace—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego-- I will stand on what they said in verses 16-18:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

I view much of the evil, including sickness, as being similar to that fiery furnace—something trying to cause harm to us and shake our faith. And that is how I went into my surgery, knowing that regardless of the outcome, my God was with me and would see me through it, in life or in death. Whether my surgery went well or not. Yes, I believe that the God that I worship does hear my prayers and does answer them. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b) My God is an awesome God.

ca-native
06-03-2008, 07:49 PM
Well, I promised Pooka that I would respond with something about the efficacy of prayer and its role with medicine

Sharon aka Pooka1,

Be the bigger person here and don't respond to Susie*Bee. Show her you know that this forum is for SCOLIOSIS.

Susie*Bee - PM Sharon if you feel like continuing this fight.

Susie*Bee
06-03-2008, 08:02 PM
This isn't a fight. I'm sorry that you interpreted it that way.

Pooka1
06-03-2008, 08:11 PM
That was very interesting... easily one of the more interesting posts of late. I had never really read primary studies but relied on experts who did.

I looked at all the links though didn't read all of them. I read the NY Times piece.

I think much of this is in keeping with the several studies (I am told) that show folks with a god belief (any god belief I think) are actually not only happier on average but do in fact live somewhat longer than heathens, again on average.

Moreover I think your belief probably did help you at least somewhat through your surgery and recovery. That is very likely in my opinion given the results of happiness/health documented from religious belief.

In that sense, I think it can be good to have a god belief. Some medical people have argued that religion has proven itself useful in this regard. Some other scientists, while admitting that god beliefs do have documented beneficial effects on health, nevertheless tend to be more interested in the truth claims of religion. That is, the claims are either true or false. These latter folks would characterize religion as a useful delusion, but still a delusion. And scientists, by definition, are not in the delusion business no matter how useful. :)

Last, I'll just say none of this is counterfactual or anti-science. You don't have to be anti-science and hold counterfactual notions to be religious. I had seven(!) people on my dissertation committee and at least two of them (maybe more!) were known to be extremely devout Christians. And yet they knew the earth is a few billion years old and that evolution is a fact. How did they know that? They examined the evidence which is irrefutable. Anyone who examines and understands the evidence will agree on this. They never saw a conflict. Or if they did, they modified their theology to face scientific facts.

As the previous Pope said, truth cannot contradict truth. Hence the RCC accepts an old earth, evolution, etc.

Scientists don't say, "Believe me on this." No. They say, "Don't believe me. Here is the evidence, look at it yourself." It is all there.

I wish more folks would accept that. Religious folks shoot themselves in the foot when they imagine a conflict with science.

Thanks again for the interesting post.

sharon

Pooka1
06-03-2008, 08:15 PM
Sharon aka Pooka1,

Be the bigger person here and don't respond to Susie*Bee. Show her you know that this forum is for SCOLIOSIS.

Susie*Bee - PM Sharon if you feel like continuing this fight.

:eek: :eek: :eek:

This is NOT a fight.

There was NOTHING wrong with Susie*Bee's post. And I am not convinced this is off-topic for this group given the way the numbers break and the proven efficacy of prayer and god belief (albeit a form of the placebo effect). It's paranormal but nobody is trying to make money of off prayer.

An intellectually honest argument can be had even about something like prayer.

sharon

ps. Susie*Bee, glad you seem to be cowboying up. :)

Singer
06-04-2008, 06:38 AM
What I have discovered about prayer/spirituality is this: I've lived my life with it and I've lived my life without it, and whether or not everything "they" say in church is true, life is simply better with it. I personally feel that what's important is making an effort to understand such matters, not the path we take to get there.

I am also logical and factually minded and find no conflict between science and religion.

TraumaScoli
06-04-2008, 08:40 AM
What I have discovered about prayer/spirituality is this: I've lived my life with it and I've lived my life without it, and whether or not everything "they" say in church is true, life is simply better with it. I personally feel that what's important is making an effort to understand such matters, not the path we take to get there.

I am also logical and factually minded and find no conflict between science and religion.

I just wanted to say, Chris this is a great response to the ongoing debate (not fight) the whole thread has become intriguing. =)

Thanks all. :)

Pooka1
06-04-2008, 07:39 PM
I wish Titaniumed would weigh in on this.

I wish Titaniumed would weigh in on other things also.

:)

sharon

Susie*Bee
06-12-2008, 07:51 PM
Everyone—thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on prayer! It was interesting to read how you view it in your lives. It would be nice if some others want to chip in their thoughts too. And I’m glad ca-native ended up understanding we weren’t fighting. :)

Sharon—I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to post again. I didn’t have much time for thinking through what I wanted to write… mostly because there were several things I’d like to address that you said. First, let me admit that I think I understand you better than you realize. Until I was 35, I was just as firmly convinced as you are about the "delusion of religion” (necessary for some, but definitely not for me) and I would have argued with anyone about how idiotic the idea of creation was, when all the “facts” proved evolution. We are all products of inculcation—including those that teach atheism and secular humanism, etc. In that sense, we are all brainwashed with something. I had the biggest battle and the greatest victory of my life in coming to the realization that everything I had believed and stood for was false, and that God truly exists. My whole life came crashing down around me at that point and has been built up since then, on His foundation. I know God exists, and I know he created all things. Anyway, I wanted you to know I once stood in those same shoes (or very similar ones) that you now stand in…

I"ll admit I was a bit disappointed that you didn’t read through the medical journal research articles. I honestly would like to hear your valid opinion, but it has to be based on more than a cursory glance or so. I think maybe you skirted reading them because your mind is already “set in concrete” on this topic, so you think you know what the research shows. Even so, I would hope you would use that intellectual honesty of yours to read, even if it’s just to understand the “enemy” better. I often do that. How do you know how to “fight” (not really) when you don’t know who the “enemy” really is. Going on generalizations rather than facts won’t help you to understand what the battle is based on. The journal articles would be better than the newspaper one, if only because then you’d be getting the info straight from the horse’s mouth, rather than letting someone else digest the food and then taking their word for what it says. That was the point of the links. I hope you’ll take another look at them and read through some—I would suggest #1 and 8, from top to bottom. (I went back and numbered them, for ease in discussion…) Let me know what you think of them. I need to read them again too! And no one else put any links in YET. Maybe they will. ;)

I fully understand how you might think prayer could act as a placebo, but you’ll find the study (I think #1) breaks it down into 4 different possibilities, with that being just one. Plus, if it’s only a placebo, how do you account for the study on women’s fertility, where none of the women had any knowledge that they were being prayed for? :confused: Food for thought…

Regarding your understanding of scientists… I think if you researched it, you will find that there are scientists who do not see religion as you have stated—as a “useful delusion”— so it is probably not wise to lump all scientists together that way. In fact, I believe there was a long list of scientists who believed in God and the power of prayer-- in one of those articles. I hope you realize there are also many scientists who do not believe in evolution. I know that sounds incredulous to you. If you would like, you and I can have a discussion on that off of the forum, as it really has nothing to do with scoliosis.

Glad you thought I “cowboyed” up —but I haven’t. Did you realize many of our personality traits are hereditary? I have always been (and expect I'll remain so!) a peacemaker at heart. I dislike intensely any conflict. That is part of my nature—who I am. There are many people, you being one, whom I would classify as a warrior. Ready and eager to fight for what you think is right… with no qualms about it at all. I am not like that. Both types are perfectly acceptable, but need to be controlled, and occasionally overcome. I do stand up for what I believe, but it is hard for me-- in fact, it is WAY out of my comfort zone. So please don’t think that with this thread I am “cowboying up”—I am just expressing my convictions on what I know to be true, in the hopes that you and maybe some others will learn more about prayer-- that it is actually being researched by scientists as something important, to be reckoned with-- and to also know that studies have shown it to be more than a mere placebo. It is not just "warm fuzzies," or an avenue that leads to a happier, healthier life through delusional thinking. It is real, because God is real. Even if you, or they, don’t accept that prayer can result in supernatural intervention by God, then at least maybe you, or they, will give it some consideration and thought. Unless you have a totally closed mind.

Sharon—I know you wanted Titaniumed to weigh in on this—did you PM him or anything? This thread, being way down in the research section, is probably overlooked by many. You might have to draw his attention to it. Hope to have some more civil discussions, with you and whomever else wants to join in—or they can just state their beliefs.

scooter950
06-13-2008, 09:17 AM
Wow ! I just checked in and found your post, SusieBee, you did your homework! I haven't read the research yet but I will - THANK you for taking the time to do this!

First off, let me explain that I am a registered nurse, for over 25+ yrs. I've worked in critical care (5 yrs) emergency (1 yr) medical -surgical including oncology, nephrology and surgical ICU (6 yrs) pediatrics (2 yrs) then education - I taught nursing at a university for 7 yrs., then became a nurse case manager (4 yrs.) and now I'm working as an occupational health nurse- doing medical screening and surveillance on mostly healthy patients, no lifting, work in an office, not the hospital. Much better for my back!

I have my master's degree in nursing., I've done research on critical thinking in education, and I did summer work as a a program coordinator for two independently funded research projects.

Why am I telling you my credentials? Because - I also believe in the power of prayer (and not only on a personal, experiential basis).

Nurses are taught about the value of prayer in their baccalaureate nursing program- it's usually listed as spirituality to encompass all forms of religious beliefs. Nurses are taught to help the patient identify their strengths and use these strengths to help them cope with their illness. Prayer, support from their church and minister, are listed in college nursing textbooks as ways the nurse can help the patient deal with the stress of having a serious or chronic illness. The point being - that religion IS recognized as having the ability to make a positive impact on the patient's recovery. SusieBee lists research that validates the concrete, physical effects of prayer. I repeat SusieBee's comment: use that intellectual honesty and read the research articles. Prayer IS another tool we can offer one another and newbies in their battle with scoliosis. Not instead of treatment- but with treatment, with decision making, with the day-to-day suffering we all experience. Very interesting reading, SusieBee and thank you for drawing attention to prayer as another resource for all of us.

may I add- God bless you!

Jamie

Pooka1
06-13-2008, 07:37 PM
My whole life came crashing down around me at that point and has been built up since then, on His foundation. I know God exists, and I know he created all things. Anyway, I wanted you to know I once stood in those same shoes (or very similar ones) that you now stand in…

That's the bulk of conversions as I understand it... folks who hit some wall or death row inmates.


I"ll admit I was a bit disappointed that you didn’t read through the medical journal research articles. I honestly would like to hear your valid opinion, but it has to be based on more than a cursory glance or so.

I checked them enough to know they weren't double blind studies. Unless they are double-blind, they are just measuring the placebo effect. If there were any studies that proved prayer worked apart from the placebo effect, we would all know about it by now as it would constitute the first and only evidence for the supernatural. That's another reason I didn't have to read the studies. There would be no atheists if that happened because there would be evidence. There remains no evidence of anything supernatural. If there was evidence then folks wouldn't need faith. And yet they still need faith.

And I'm sorry to say but it's hypocritical to say use prayer in addition to modern medicine. Why not just prayer if it works? Isn't the reason because deep down you can't trust prayer to work? And if it only works occassionally, how can you only attribute the "hits" and not the misses to prayer?


Regarding your understanding of scientists… I think if you researched it, you will find that there are scientists who do not see religion as you have stated—as a “useful delusion”— so it is probably not wise to lump all scientists together that way. In fact, I believe there was a long list of scientists who believed in God and the power of prayer-- in one of those articles. I hope you realize there are also many scientists who do not believe in evolution. I know that sounds incredulous to you. If you would like, you and I can have a discussion on that off of the forum, as it really has nothing to do with scoliosis.

This is very misleading. I think you are referring to some survey that asked if folks believed in the PRESENT THEORY of evolution. There is some disagreement on which theory best explains the FACT of evolution. You won't find any mainstream scientist denying the FACT of evolution as defined by change over time, in this case a few billion years. Folks like Francis Collins (Head of the genome project) who is a devout Christian yet still knows the earth is a few billion years old and that evolution is a FACT. He and other religious scientists prove that a person can be religious without being a crack pot. Young-earth creationists are by definition crack pots because the earth is demonstrably a few billion years old.

The evidence for the FACT of evolution is undeniable. You should look it up. That's why only crackpots and some tendentious and ignorant engineering types and such who haven't studied biology deny the FACT of evolution over billions of years. It is ignorant to do otherwise and in fact is illegal to teach otherwise in public school science classrooms. There is a reason for that. It's the same reason ONLY religious types try to deny the FACT of evolution. It's because it conflicts with certain theologies. And that is an intellectually dishonest reason to doubt a scientific fact.

There is more evidence for the THEORY of evolution than there is for the theory of gravity. I'll bet you didn't know that. The decision should rest on the evidence, not theology. The evidence SCREAMS the FACT of evolution over a few billion years. The evidence ALSO screams that Bronze Age nomads and Iron Age agrarians didn't know thing one about science.

The fact is 99.9999999999999% of biologists and especially evolutionary biologists know evolution is an undeniable fact supported by mutually buttressed lines of evidence from fossils to molecular biology that ALL tell the same story... change over billions of years. If you looked at the evidecne, you too would agree evolution is a fact.

In re TitaniumEd, I just thought he was an interesting guy and I was hoping he didn't just post a few times and then leave for lack of action on the forum.

sharon

ca-native
06-13-2008, 08:49 PM
Well, here’s my take on religion…

I’m not a religious person, I’ve tried and it hasn’t fit with me (at least so far in my life). However, for some folks it is an integral part of who they are and if a relationship with God brings them peace in trying times, I think that is pretty terrific. My experience with people who have a deep faith is that they have the comfort of a spiritual relationship supporting them in their life’s ups and downs.

Here’s the only thing that really bugs me: when someone tells me I must believe 100% in their religious beliefs or I am going to hell. I mean, if religion is such a personal experience that’s great but please, don’t make me out to be a villain if I’m not comfortable being on the same page. IMHO, the most important thing is that if any of you feel that God is an integral part of healing through your scoliosis journey that is absolutely fantastic; embrace it and use it! Because on this forum, indeed wherever there is a large group of people who get together, there will be a very strong difference of opinions. However, our commonality is scoliosis and using whatever tools/support/beliefs we feel comfortable with in how to integrate this disability into part of who we are while making sure it doesn’t define us completely as to who we are, is critical.

Susie*Bee and Pooka1/Sharon my apologies for my initial misunderstanding of your dialog intent. :o Obviously you are both very intense, intelligent people. Me, I’m more of a simple person who thinks that religious beliefs absolutely work for some people and for others it doesn’t, like me. Doesn’t make either one of us wrong as long as we don’t try to make the other one wrong, once again IMHO.

Well, from here on out, I think I’ll watch this interesting conversation from the sidelines. :)

Pooka1
06-14-2008, 06:57 AM
Well, here’s my take on religion…

I’m not a religious person, I’ve tried and it hasn’t fit with me (at least so far in my life). (snip)

First, I'm very glad you stayed and even more glad you posted to this thread with a very thoughtful post.

There are plenty of folks like you and me who can't believe. I think it's a combination of having certain knowledge (NOT related to intelligence) and perhaps not having certain brain neurochemical pathways that religious folks have.

We know that certain brain pathologies like temporal lobe seizures are often accompanied by hyper-religious feelings. You cure the seizures and the hyper-religious feelings go away. Normal religious people might have these same pathways but they aren't abnormally active like in the seizure patients. Atheists are missing these pathways.

Anyway, the brain science on this is very exciting and seems to all point in one direction... religious feelings seem to originate (at least) in the temporal lobe of the brain and can be manipulated.

Susie*Bee
06-14-2008, 07:01 PM
TraumaScoli and Singer--thank you for your posts earlier in this thread. I value your input and willingness to share.

Scooter—thank you for sharing your credentials and helping us to know more about nursing instruction regarding prayer/spirituality—and for sharing your own beliefs with us.

ca-native—thank you for your input and sharing too—I respect your wishes to not have others forcefully or threateningly push their beliefs on you. That never helps—it only damages.

Sharon—here we go again, but I am about done, because after we have presented our information back and forth a few times, there is probably no chance of either of us changing our minds—at least not in the near future. I have enjoyed our discussion, but I think we are at a stalemate. We have succeeded in presenting information and sharing, and that has been good. Thank you for your part in this.

In all fairness (in my mind, to those of us who don’t agree with you) I will respond to some of your recent statements and then I will probably be finished with this, unless the topic returns to it’s original purpose—an exploration of prayer and medicine research.

My conversion did not happen through some monumental event occurring in my life, but rather it began when I did a self-examination of what I believed-- my world view, which consisted of a rather nebulous combination, fluctuating with time, between atheism, agnosticism and nihilsm, and I discovered there were many holes in the foundation of my beliefs that couldn't be resolved.

Regarding your statement on prayer—I don’t think you read what I had written, or you wouldn’t have made those statements about the need for medicine or why God does not perform his healing at our will. Prayer is not some kind of hokus pokus, where we ask-- and God obeys. Please re-read what I wrote in my statement of faith, regarding the state of this world and answered prayer. I firmly believe we can intervene on behalf of people and events and circumstances through prayer-- and a loving God hears us. David says in Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry." That doesn’t mean he answers us every time or in whatever manner or way we want. Again, re-read what I wrote earlier.

There is no hope for you and I to agree or even probably have a civil discussion on evolution vs. creation. I had requested that we discuss this away from the forum. Since you brought it up again, I think that I will reply this time, but no more unless we do it through PMs or emails. I disagree with your statements and I have compiled some links for you (or others) to consider. I will stress again that we are ALL (even you) products of inculcation—evolutionists/atheists included. I think you have been misled, but you think I am delusional—we are at an impasse, but still it has been a stimulating discussion and I’m glad we had it. :)

Answers in Genesis is a wonderful (in my opinion) organization and resource for information on creation science. They put out a magazine that is really interesting to some of us. One of the “free” articles on their magazine’s website this month is a very interesting one about how incredible something as simple as a chicken egg is… Those of you who are interested can read it here: (it’s short!)

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v3/n3/incredible-egg

Here are some links for creation science. I hope you read through some of them, even if it’s just to read what your opponents are saying.

1. http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/qa.asp

2. http://bassethound.wordpress.com/2007/04/03/real-scientists-who-believe-in-creationism-do-they-exist/

3. http://emporium.turnpike.net/C/cs/index.htm

4. http://www.rae.org/believe.html

5. http://www.allaboutcreation.org/

6. http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/03/collins.commentary/index.html

7. http://www.creationists.org/outstanding.html

8. http://www.creationists.org/switch.html

9. http://worldsareapart.wordpress.com/2007/06/15/creation-vs-evolution-why-50-scientists-choose-to-believe-in-creation/

10. http://www.conservapedia.com/Creation_science

11. http://www.conservapedia.com/Theory_of_evolution#Theory_of_Evolution_and_the_Sc ientific_Journals

12. http://www.reasons.org/resources/in_the_news/20051220.shtml

13. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/does-c14-disprove-the-bible

I also wonder if you could be open minded enough to see the Ben Stein movie that was recently released called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed… It is an exposé on the loss of academic freedom in Western nations… because of the secular scientific community’s intolerance toward anyone who suggests the possibility of intelligent design. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s supposed to be excellent.

Yes, I also agree that titaniumed is an interesting person… and I saw he was on the forum either this week or last, so maybe he’ll “stop by” and see what’s happening from time to time.

Sharon—I wish you all the best in finding the truth—and the same for me and everyone else as well. We can believe whatever we choose, we may even be firmly convinced, even in our “heart of hearts” -- but it won’t really matter how much we believe it, unless it is THE TRUTH. Take care! Susie

Pooka1
06-14-2008, 07:51 PM
(snip)I will stress again that we are ALL (even you) products of inculcation—evolutionists/atheists included. I think you have been misled, but you think I am delusional—we are at an impasse, but still it has been a stimulating discussion and I’m glad we had it. :)

My knowledge of evolution as being a fact is based on evidence.

Your doubting the scientific FACT of evolution is just your religious dogma talking. You bring NO evidence undermining evolution or a few billion year old earth. It is ILLEGAL to teach creationism in public school science class because it isn't science but is rather RELIGION. Religious dogma. As such, it violates the separation of church and State.


Answers in Genesis is a wonderful (in my opinion) organization and resource for information on creation science.(snip)

There is no "science" in "creation science." It is religious dogma from stem to stern and has been ruled out by scientific inquiry for several decades. Whether or not you understand why creation science is religion and not science doesn't change the fact. Similarly, if you can't explain how the Space Shuttle flies and achieves orbit doesn't negate the fact that it does so. If you haven't studied the evidence for evolution, a few billion year old earth, etc. (and you obviously haven't because you doubt it), I find it unseemly that you can dismiss it so easily. That's your religious dogma talking, not any sense of scientific evidence or inquiry. Again, it is ILLEGAL to teach creation science in public school science classrooms because it is religion, NOT science. Do you deny that?

AIG is a tendentious religious organization that is clearly ignorant or lying about the scientific FACT of evolution and an old earth. Conflict between scientific facts and religious dogma is entirely their creation out of their own tendentiousness and ignorance. Plenty of devout Christians, most in fact as far as I know, accept the FACT of evolution and a few billion year of earth. Who are the "true Christians" (TM), them or you, AIG, and their ilk?


I also wonder if you could be open minded enough to see the Ben Stein movie that was recently released called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed… It is an exposé on the loss of academic freedom in Western nations… because of the secular scientific community’s intolerance toward anyone who suggests the possibility of intelligent design. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s supposed to be excellent.

The Expelled movie has been exposed for the nonsense it is. Intelligent design is not science and the adherents admit there is STILL no theory of ID (after all this time). I heard an interview with one of the associate producers where he is caught lying MULTIPLE times. That guy couldn't get out of there fast enough. He's a lying liar. The people behind that movie up to and including Ben Stein are dishonest. There is a long list of lies in the movie that you can google.

Not to put too fine a point on this but I don't think you have the background to judge whether or not that movie is being honest or dishonest. The people who do have the background have BLASTED the people who made this movie for being liars. Don't believe me, google it.

In re the efficacy of prayer apart from placebo, there is EVIDENCE in the form of gold-standard double-blind studies and there FLUFF consisting of everything else. What you have proffered is entirely in the second category.

Susie*Bee
06-14-2008, 08:17 PM
Sharon-- I am not going to argue with you on the forum about creation science and evolution. I already said that. You may believe what you believe-- let us leave it at that. I have tried to be civil and fair in all that I said to you. I prefer to leave our relationship on a friendly/antagonist level. Let's stick to the topic of scoliosis-- whether it is looking at research on prayer and medicine, which you choose not to consider (but some of us do), or some other aspect of the scoliosis journey/battle. You take care!

ca-native
06-15-2008, 12:39 AM
Sharon-- I am not going to argue with you on the forum about creation science and evolution. I already said that. You may believe what you believe-- let us leave it at that. I have tried to be civil and fair in all that I said to you. I prefer to leave our relationship on a friendly/antagonist level. Let's stick to the topic of scoliosis-- whether it is looking at research on prayer and medicine, which you choose not to consider (but some of us do), or some other aspect of the scoliosis journey/battle. You take care!

I fibbed a little by saying I would only watch from the sidelines, but I just want to add a little something.

Hi Susie*Bee,

I think you have stated it very eloquently; this is a topic that for some people it is best to agree to disagree. :rolleyes:

And just for the record, I consider myself an agnostic not an atheist because I am very open to the possibility that there is a God. Now what form that God/higher power takes is something that I haven't quite connected with yet but obviously for you it is a very strong relationship which is wonderful. However, I also respect Sharon's viewpoint.

Truth be told, I admire people who find comfort in prayer and a connection to a higher power/God because I do think it helps by lowering stress. Let's face it, any method that brings that level of well being into dealing with scoliosis can only be a plus. When people said they would pray for my daughter during her surgery and recovery, I appreciated their kindness because I knew that for *them* it was a very giving gesture and I readily accepted their spiritual generosity.

Peace out... ;)

Pooka1
06-15-2008, 01:27 PM
(snip)
And just for the record, I consider myself an agnostic not an atheist because I am very open to the possibility that there is a God. (snip)

You can be an atheist and be totally open to the possibility of gods. I am. I don't know a single atheist who isn't open to evidence for a god. We are not dogmatic except on the point of requiring evidence but rather open-minded. If there is a god, I want to know about it. Unfortunately, there is no evidence and I can't make myself believe just based on faith because for me, that is intellectually dishonest.

Pooka1
06-15-2008, 02:08 PM
Nurses are taught about the value of prayer in their baccalaureate nursing program- it's usually listed as spirituality to encompass all forms of religious beliefs. Nurses are taught to help the patient identify their strengths and use these strengths to help them cope with their illness. Prayer, support from their church and minister, are listed in college nursing textbooks as ways the nurse can help the patient deal with the stress of having a serious or chronic illness. The point being - that religion IS recognized as having the ability to make a positive impact on the patient's recovery. SusieBee lists research that validates the concrete, physical effects of prayer. I repeat SusieBee's comment: use that intellectual honesty and read the research articles. Prayer IS another tool we can offer one another and newbies in their battle with scoliosis. Not instead of treatment- but with treatment, with decision making, with the day-to-day suffering we all experience. Very interesting reading, SusieBee and thank you for drawing attention to prayer as another resource for all of us.

may I add- God bless you!

Jamie, nobody doubts the power of the placebo effect.

Did anyone with a degree at any school you attended claim the power of prayer was separate and apart from the power of the placebo effect?

I believe it is well established by peer-reviewed studies that not only do folks tend to do better if they know others are praying for them but religious folks, on average, live slightly longer and appear to be somewhat happier than heathens. Wishful thinking clearly has some real benefits and I don't know any scientists who would doubt that.

That this is an observed fact is not on the table.

What I thought was on the table was whether or not prayer APART from the placebo is efficacious.

To my knowledge, prayer has never been shown to be efficacious apart from placebo. If you know of peer-reviewed studies to the contrary, I'd love to hear about them.

Thanks.

Susie*Bee
06-20-2008, 01:51 PM
Pooka/Sharon – and to others who have been following this thread:
I’ve been thinking for a little bit about what else to write, decided just to go ahead with what has come to mind… so here goes, once again. And I am now “probably” done…

What I set out to do in this thread has been accomplished, in my mind. (An aside: when people are trying to prove a point, I always think back to a wildlife biometrics class I had in college—and one of the books we looked at in it was called How To Lie With Statistics. I may not remember much from the class (after 35+ years) but do remember that people can twist and manipulate all kinds of data to show what they want to show… So I am a bit of a skeptic with data at times.)

Anyway, there are interesting links in this thread to show that grown people have indeed conducted scientific research on the efficacy of prayer and medicine. You had claimed that to be a ludicrous thought. If you read the links, then you know, all combined, from what we can read, they are inconclusive and leave a lot of questions—both ways. Some claimed to be double-blind studies. I am not going to argue their validity. I don’t think it matters that much. Why? I don’t think we can measure God in that way-- does he, or doesn’t he??? Good question! I firmly believe that He DOES hear the prayers of believers—and DOES answer them, in HIS time and in HIS way. I also believe that we cannot “test” God— by asking him to perform for us in some measurable way. That, too, is ludicrous beyond belief. It reminds me of the book by J.I. Packer—Your God is Too Small. We cannot even pretend to understand him, his ways, his mind… Can we say we know all about him, and put him in a little box to be used when we desire his help? Pretty absurd. Isaiah 55 is a wonderful chapter in the Bible. It shows how very much he cares for us and desires us to find him,; yet it also addresses how very much beyond our comprehension are his ways. Verses 6-9 say: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Measure God through studies? Put him to the test? I think not! I am not sure if you read my statement of faith in this thread, especially in regard to answered/not-answered-how-we’d-like-it prayer (post #2), or my statement on prayer in post #15, or have pursued any theological discussions or writings on understanding prayer and all the questions that surround it. I will be the first to admit that we cannot petition God through prayer and expect a “presto” magical answer that can be measured by us. God is not a puppet or a robot! God does not work that way. No amount of research will prove anything, because God is not measurable or comprehendible by man. But I know he is a caring God who loves us beyond comprehension and sometimes intervenes to change “what might have been” when petitioned.

I was intrigued by your statement to ca-native about atheists being open to God’s existence… An agnostic doesn’t know whether or not to believe in God. The dictionary definition of an atheist pretty much says that it is a person who denies the existence of God-- there is no God. Since you say not all atheists believe that, but are open to evidence, then there must be a wide range of atheistic belief. If so, then you can understand that it is the same with Christian belief, since you asked who the “true Christians” are... That is why you can find such variance in Christendom—we have different understanding that covers a pretty broad range of belief. I am not going to judge other Christians for what they do and don’t believe. Life is a journey—and when we walk it with the Lord, many truths come our way. Some have a closer walk than others, which is dependent on what we choose. BTW, the Lord is always the same—we are the ones that distance ourselves from him, through our choices. And just as science is a huge realm, with countless fields under its main, huge, umbrella, so is what man is capable of knowing about God and his ways, only in an eternally humongous sense. It is too vast—and some just know little drops’ worth of his character, and cannot possibly learn very much of the immense scope of what is known to man about the creator of the universe. It’s like the old story of the three blind men and the elephant. We look at different aspects and think we have the true picture. What we really need to know is in the Bible; what he is in actuality is way beyond all comprehension.

Regarding evidence of God’s existence. It’s all around us. From the nature and workings of a single atom, to the detail and manifold wonders of the double helix, the fascinating depth of a single cell; the wonderment of the workings of an eye; the vivid colors, intricate workings, even the reproduction-- of all the creatures; the majestic grandeur of all of nature and the elements… I could go on and on, but there is no point. All of it is so spectacular and incredulous to ponder... It is above our thoughts. I am dumbfounded when I consider that there are people who think all of this came about by random chance from nothing, from non-life to life. (That has been tried through scientific experiment for hundreds of years without success—how to bring something non-living to life.) All of creation is so obviously awesomely creative and vast in its greatness-- to me, and to so many others who believe. Romans 1:19-20 says: "…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

Sharon—you can tear into what I’ve said, I am not able to express all I'd like to—you are so adept at tearing apart and you do it so well; and I do admire your skill—but it still doesn’t change what is. And you are right, no one can just will themselves to believe-- but a genuine interest in knowing the truth about God-- whether he exists or not, is a really good place to start. I admit I chuckled over your citing about certain brain pathologies coming into play with believers-- and am delighted to have a screw or two loose, if that is what brings me into a relationship with God. :D Here's a "mission:impossible" challenge for you to consider, if you dare-- search for the TRUTH—not for religion or scientific facts; don’t depend on others to tell you what to believe. Question your own beliefs from time to time, if only to make sure you still believe them, and to see if they really have substance. That is what I call being intellectually honest—to search for the truth at all costs, and not be content with the status quo. Best wishes to you—and your family. Susie

Pooka1
06-20-2008, 02:41 PM
What I set out to do in this thread has been accomplished, in my mind. (An aside: when people are trying to prove a point, I always think back to a wildlife biometrics class I had in college—and one of the books we looked at in it was called How To Lie With Statistics. I may not remember much from the class (after 35+ years) but do remember that people can twist and manipulate all kinds of data to show what they want to show… So I am a bit of a skeptic with data at times.)

Indeed. That's EXACTLY what Answers in Genesis and all those other young-earth creationism sites are doing. Why aren't you skeptical of them? They present obviously counterfactual stuff that has been disproven decades and even hundreds of years ago solely to support the rants of some ignorant Bronze Age nomads in the middle east of a few millenia ago. This is a dishonest pursuit.

AIG and their ilk are advocating teaching religion (creationism) in public schools which has consistently, through several court cases, been ruled ILLEGAL. Do you deny that? Intelligent design creationism has also been adjudicated to be religion and so is ILLEGAL to teach, at least in public school science classrooms in that jurisdiction. Furthermore, the DA in that Dover, PA case said he will pursue perjury charges against the two lying liars from the school board (Bonsell and Buckingham) who lied about their religious intentions and actions. I hope they get massive fines and wish they would do jail time.

I don't mean to be blunt but I think you said you were a school librarian. It concerns me that a school librarian would advocate the teaching of something (creationism) that has consistently been ruled ILLEGAL to teach, at least in public school science classrooms.


(snip)I also believe that we cannot “test” God— by asking him to perform for us in some measurable way. (snip)

Pretty convenient!


That, too, is ludicrous beyond belief. It reminds me of the book by J.I. Packer—Your God is Too Small. We cannot even pretend to understand him, his ways, his mind… Can we say we know all about him, and put him in a little box to be used when we desire his help? Pretty absurd.

And yet most religionists think they know what God wants you to eat, who you can and canNOT sleep with, what you should do on particular days of the week, etc. etc. Isn't THAT absurd also?


I was intrigued by your statement to ca-native about atheists being open to God’s existence… An agnostic doesn’t know whether or not to believe in God. The dictionary definition of an atheist pretty much says that it is a person who denies the existence of God-- there is no God.

Atheists deny gods because there is no evidence. They, or at least I, don't deny gods on any principle. There could be gods. We can never disprove all gods though we can rule out incoherently defined gods like the god of the bible. I'm open to evidence and want to know whether or not there is a god.


I am not going to judge other Christians for what they do and don’t believe.

Yes but in this case, it's the Christians who have some training in science who tend to say evolution and an old earth are facts (e.g., Francis Collins, Kenneth Miller, etc.). And it's the ignorant ones who don't have any meaningful training who are the young earth creationists. That's more than a coincidence. How do you explain it?

It almost seems like the more knowledge and education a person attains, the less likely they are to believe in creationism. And in fact the polls bear that out, culminating in 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, the cream of the cream of the scientific community, rejecting the idea of a personal god.

So we CAN judge the creationists who choose to be ignorant and lie because there are plenty of honest, educated Christians who know evolution and an old earth are FACTS.


Life is a journey—and when we walk it with the Lord, many truths come our way. Some have a closer walk than others, which is dependent on what we choose.

And some get more knowledge and education than others apparently.


I am dumbfounded when I consider that there are people who think all of this came about by random chance from nothing, from non-life to life.

So am I. No scientist claims this. It is a common creationist strawman. Read Victor Stenger's book, "God: The Failed Hypothesis" for why this is a strawman. You have to start reading objective, factual material, not just the tendentious religious stuff if you want to learn about this stuff and have an intelligent conversation.

Folks are entitled to their own opinions. They are not entitled to their own facts. Religious folks historically have had trouble with this simple concept because they have an agenda.

Scientists have no such agenda. If I came across proof of a young earth or the existence of Jesus or the historicity of Exodus, I would RUSH to publish it because then I'd be famous. Any scientist, including all the atheists, would rush to publish that. I don't care which way this goes... god or no god. I am looking for evidence like all religionists do in EVERY OTHER ASPECT OF THEIR LIFE BESIDES RELIGION. And one can be forgiven for thinking that hypocritical of religionists.

Singer
06-20-2008, 03:59 PM
Someday (I hope) all of us will find out what the truth of existence really is. Until then, I don't see how anyone can claim to be right. We can believe, and have faith in our beliefs, but we can't KNOW.

I have found that faith and belief make life better and more palatable. I don't really care if it's a placebo effect or not. Perhaps our brains ARE simply biologically hard-wired to achieve a "high" from spiritual pursuits. If so, that's good enough for me.

I think Pooka and Susie both make excellent points, and I suspect that the REAL truth may be something that nobody on earth has ever imagined....or may even be capable of imagining. It's difficult for me to accept that Christianity is absolutely the only pathway to enlightenment, and yes, I consider myself a Christian.

Pooka1
06-20-2008, 04:32 PM
Singer/Chris,

You are an example of an honest Christian who is open-minded and doesn't deny scientific facts.

There are plenty of Christians who see no conflict between their faith and science.

As far as we can tell, spiritual feelings evolved in humans because it conferred some competitive advantage. The temporal lobes are the site of at least some of this neurochemical activity. As I mentioned before, we know from brain pathology that certain disorders are accompanied by hyper-religious feelings which can be extinguished when the pathology is corrected. As sick as these people are, and as tormented as they are by seizures, they often don't want to be cured because they are so addicted to the hyper-religious feelings.

Moreover, there have been some attempts by psychologists and psychiatrists to classify belief in certain ideas like the Virgin Mary and such as being objectively delusional. I suspect within a few hundred years, these beliefs will be classified as delusions and be a symptom of a named psychosis.

Although I, and many others, apparently don't have the brain chemistry to accept gods (though I do greatly appreciate the numinous), I can certainly understand how others have brains that are so wired. There are plenty of atheists who truly want to believe there is a benevolent god, life after death, etc. but just can't sacrifice their intellectual honesty on that altar.

Susie*Bee
06-20-2008, 04:34 PM
Thanks, Chris, for adding your valuable insights too. Yes, we will all find out sometime... and that is an exciting thought, in and of itself. :D

Sharon-- you've done it again and immediately countered with what I will call your "evolution agenda." I have very nicely requested (several times, I do believe) that we not get into creation vs. evolution on the forum, as it has NOTHING to do with scoliosis. You may PM me if you want to, although I see no point to discuss it further with you. I agree to disagree.

Prayer, on the other hand, along with a basic understanding of what it is (the theology of prayer, if you will) can have much to do with scoliosis-- and other health issues. Because of that, it is an appropriate topic for the forum.

As far as evidence for the God of the Bible, I rest my case, permanently, on his creation... He is an awesome God. Amen.

As for my job as media coordinator of an elementary school library... I think you are either being silly or an alarmist. I have no agenda for shaping minds, other than to think and grow... I do believe you are correct in stating that the legalities of teaching anything other than evolution are confined to the science curriculum/science classroom. Regardless, I would never push my own agenda through some sort of censorship or "stacking the deck in my favor" or something... Do you not read children's books? I love them-- or at least all of them that are well written, regardless of their ideologies and religious or non-religious foundations. I want kids to develop their minds in many ways-- through all the different genres that come with a good library. I admire free thinkers over robots any day. I was not afraid for my own children to read books that did not agree with Christianity. Growing up includes being exposed to all kinds of ideas, from fantasy through non-fiction through science fiction and beyond... You made me chuckle to even think of censoring out any of the books that are in our library... But that made me wonder-- what would you do if you were the librarian??? Rid it of all that doesn't agree with you? I would hope you would be above that. Now let's let our differences rest and get on with scoliosis, its challenges, and the different avenues that are available for dealing with it. That's what we need to tackle with our brains at the moment, not each other. OK?

Pooka1
06-20-2008, 05:04 PM
Thanks, Chris, for adding your valuable insights too. Yes, we will all find out sometime... and that is an exciting thought, in and of itself. :D

Sharon-- you've done it again and immediately countered with what I will call your "evolution agenda."

If I started pointing out that astrology was bullcrap and astronomy was a science would you say I have an "astronomy agenda?"

Similarly, if I pointed out that alchemy was nonsense and chemistry was a science would you say I have a "chemistry agenda?"

The fact that you may not understand why these are EXACT analogies to the creationism/evolution question doesn't negate the fact that they are in fact exact analogies.

Don't you find it disconcerting that most Christians with doctorates in sciences DISAGREE with you on creationism? So we have a bunch of people who studied this subject FOR YEARS saying creationism is bullcrap and we have you and the yokel ignoranti at AIG et al. who claim the earth is a few thousand years old based ONLY on the rants of Bronze Age nomads.


(...)what would you do if you were the librarian??? Rid it of all that doesn't agree with you? I would hope you would be above that. (snip)

To be educated requires a thoroughgoing knowledge of comparative religions. English literature is not completely intelligible without a knowledge of the Bible.

I would require coursework in comparative religion starting in high school so that all kids can see the range of religious thought out there. I would stay on the correct side of the law and keep all religion (creationism, ID, turtles all the way down, etc.) out of science class. Furthermore, kids MUST be exposed to the evolution science and creationism mythology debate so they understand the difference between science and religion. I would teach the Dover case in high School also so they understand why Intelligent Design is merely creationism in a cheap tuxedo.

Susie*Bee
06-20-2008, 06:22 PM
Sharon-- The definition of "agenda" does not connote either its correctness or its fallacies. I am finished with this "discussion" with you on the forum, not because I think either of us has won, but because it doesn't belong here. Enough is enough. And the library (hence the books) are for K-5th grade... that is what is generally understood as being an elementary school.

Pooka1
06-20-2008, 06:52 PM
In elementary school, I would just keep the science books (mainstream biology, geology, etc.) and the religious books (creationism, Intelligent design creationism, other creation myth stories, etc.) separated. Like on opposite sides of the room. :D