From the Florida Freethinkers, in an article titled “Scientific Conclusion: Prayer Doesn’t Work”:
Even though prayer is an irrational concept, could it nevertheless be tested scientifically? Francis Galton, the brilliant and eccentric half cousin of Charles Darwin, thought so and gave the idea scientific legitimacy. Galton was the father of biometry and a central figure in the founding of modern statistical analysis. He argued that regardless of how the prayers “may be supposed to operate,” the efficacy of prayer … is a perfectly appropriate and legitimate subject of scientific inquiry” because it can be tested statistically. He then proceeded to set up such studies.
I’ve heard more than one atheist talk of scientific studies that prove prayer doesn’t “work.” But it seems to me that they’re missing a couple very important points about both God and prayer.
Which brings us to this week’s challenge. If your friend were to cite these studies as proof against prayer (and by extension, against the existence of God), how would you respond?
As always, feel free to make as many or as few points as you like, and both content and tactical ideas are welcome. Then stick around to hear Brett’s response to both the challenge and your comments later this week.