- Published on Sunday, 26 September 2010 06:55
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 4822
Dan Dennett has written a piece in the Washington Post that points out how praying for Christopher Hitchens can be seen as well-intentioned yet is a total waste of time. He points to the Harvard study done in 2006 that proved that prayer had "no statistically significant effects--except for a small negative effect, in which people who knew they were being prayed for did, on average, somewhat worse than the others! So praying for Hitch might be counterproductive." (Full report here)
Dan (photo at left) remembers when he had a similar medical crisis four years ago and he wrote a piece called Thank Goodness. He writes that it was "...about my gratitude to the doctors (not to God) for saving my life, and said I was forgiving those friends of mine who had the courage to tell me that they were praying for me. I resisted the temptation to respond 'Thanks, I appreciate it, but did you also sacrifice a goat?' I acknowledged the goodwill but wanted to point out a problem raised by the [Harvard] study."
If you dismiss that research then any time you "consider filing a malpractice suit against a doctor who made a mistake in treating you", you are saying that you "acknowledge your tacit appreciation of the high standards of rational inquiry to which the medical world holds itself, and yet you continue to indulge in a practice for which there is no known rational justification at all". Gentleman Dan didn't say it explicitly, but I will: you are being a hypocrite. On the one hand you expect people (e.g. Doctors) to be highly rational but you refuse to be rational yourself!
Dan speaks for many of us when he says: "Those of us rooting for Christopher Hitchens in his contest with cancer are an open-minded multitude; we wish him the best, not just because we appreciate his great contributions in the past and his talent for giving delight, but because we need him for our future endeavors. He is a most valuable player."
To see Dan's original, go here.