Film at 11:00
As a warning to mortals to repent of their sins, quit asking hard questions about Republican corruption, incompetence and treason, and to STFU and blindly follow the Dear Leader without quibble or qualm, God Almighty blotted out the Sun for nearly three minutes this week.
As any Dominionist American knows, such omens and presages from the Sky God are not to be taken lightly. They are a thunderbolt across the bow. A Gentile-but-not-so-genteel reminder that this was the fulfillment of modern prophecy.
For lo, did not the Dear Leader’s prophets at NASA say that the Sun shall be stricken from the Heavens as the faithless Abramoff shall be stricken from the White House Easter Egg Roll VIP List?
Was it not written in the Book of the Dear Leader’s National Weather Service that the darkness of vile night shall blot out the Glories of Heaven during the bright of day even as the evil Feingold tries to blot out the Dear Leader’s glory with the dark instrumentality of censure? And at the moment that all seems lost, the Shadow shall pass from the face of the Sun even as the Rubberstamp Congress sweeps aside the pernicious idea of holding the Dear Leader to account for petty, mortal trangressions?
Whoa to you, oh men of Science and reason and thinkyness: these portents are not to dismissed simply because they are the “natural” result of “celestial mechanics” that in no way require the presence of the Sky God. In fact, expert theocausalist statisticians are now 141% certain it was the Harvard Study cited in this article that miffed the Primum Mobile…
From the Los Angeles Times
Largest Study of Prayer to Date Finds It Has No Power to Heal
By Denise Gellene and Thomas H. Maugh II
Times Staff Writers
March 31, 2006
The largest study yet on the therapeutic power of prayer by strangers has found that it provided no benefit to the recovery of patients who had undergone cardiac bypass surgery.
In an unexpected twist, patients who knew prayers were being said for them had more complications after surgery than those who did not know, researchers reported Thursday.
The complications were minor, and doctors surmised that they could have been caused by the increased stress on patients worried that their conditions were so bad they needed prayers.
Father Dean Marek, a Catholic priest who was involved in the research, said he wasn't surprised by the results.
"I am always a little leery about intercessory prayer," said Marek, director of chaplain services at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "What we have in mind for someone else may not be what they have in mind for themselves…. It is clearly manipulative of divine action and personal choice."
"There have now been two big studies, with hundreds and hundreds of patients, that show no effect," said Dr. Harold G. Koenig, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University. "Let's move on now and direct our money somewhere else."
Thursday's study was intended to settle the matter in the most scientific manner possible. It was funded primarily by the John Templeton Foundation, a group based in Pennsylvania that encourages the study of spirituality and science. Results will be published next week in American Heart Journal.
The study was designed as a randomized and blinded trial, meaning that most patients did not know whether someone was praying for them or not. Such trials are considered the gold standard for scientific proof.
More than 1,800 patients were divided into three groups: those who were told someone was praying for them; those who were told only that someone might pray for them and got prayers; and those who were told someone might pray for them but received no prayers. About 65% of the patients said they strongly believed in the power of prayer.
Two Catholic monasteries and one Protestant group offered the prayers. They were given patients' first names and the first initial of their last names. The groups started praying the night before surgery and continued for two weeks.
All members of the prayer groups recited the same intercession, asking for "a successful surgery and a quick, healthy recovery and no complications."
Researchers said they didn't ask family members of the sick people to stop praying because it would have been unethical to do so, meaning some people received more prayers than others.
The results showed that prayers had no beneficial effect on patients' recovery 30 days after surgery. Overall, 59% of patients who knew they were being prayed for had complications, compared to 51% of the patients who did not receive prayers. The difference was not considered statistically significant.
All groups were just as likely to develop infections or die.
Bob Barth of Silent Unity, the prayer organization in Lee's Summit, Mo., that was the Protestant group involved in the study, said the results didn't shake his confidence in prayer. "People of faith don't need a prayer study to know that prayer works," he said.
Me? I believe in prayer, and in the conscious counting of blessings, but not to wheedle some Creator into getting me laid or giving me a new laptop. Prayer is for drawing a curtain around my soul and quietly asking whatever animating and vivifying powers there may be to toss a little wisdom my way, and help me find a way to shoulder my burdens without becoming a burden, or a creep, or bitter, or a Fundy.
I believe strongly that in the middle of a shitstorm a man needs to shut out the din for at least a moment and remember to say “Thanks” for being alive on Earth.
For, in my case, being born to plenty and possibilities that a thousand generations before us never even had the nerve to dream of.
For being spared the horror of being hunted like an animal in Darfur, or dying for the lies of despicable men in Iraq.
For the chance to add my tiny measure of strength to the strength and wisdom of others and bring an end to the Darfurs and the Iraqs.
For whatever I’ve got, and however fleetingly I have it, remembering to give a little hat-tip to the Universe that made it and me manifest.
None of which has anything to with the warped hate-faith that powers the bone-stupid army of the GOP.
The Christopaths that believe they don’t need no fancy book larnin’ or higher brain functions to decide what’s true…and the hucksters and demagogues who loudly tell them they’re right, praise them for not being fooled by those dirty
Because as we speed through the first decade of the highly volatile and technologically-driven 21st century, it is nothing but terrifying that the Party with their little, webbed feet mashed down on the National Accelerator is slave to 11th century superstitions, and a belief in the power of prayer to drive foreign policy, deliver shiny, new bicycles and make the laws of physics lambada anywhichway Pat Robertson points them.