I don't mean to steal topics from PZ Myers, but his discussion today about the retroactive intercessory prayer study out of the Rabin Medical Center in Israel really got me thinking, and not just about how patently laughable that is. My question is this: How in the hell does someone work up the nerve to ask for funding for that sort of thing? I have trouble convincing myself to ask for petty cash at work to buy food for the cooking class, so it is beyond me how anyone could prepare themselves to go before a grant committee to pitch an expensive study on the retrocausal effects of petitions to Yahweh.
The methodology went a little something like this - They pulled a bunch of 6-10 year-old patient files out of the hospital records room, shuffled them up, divided them into piles, and prayed over one pile for a beneficial outcome to something that already happened 10 years ago. I would expect something like this out of a 5th grader or, I dunno, a crazy guy, but not a doctor. Surprise, surprise, the results were "inconclusive". Mortality rates were identical, but the prayer pile apparently had slightly shorter average hospital stays.
Amazingly, the Dr. Leibovici who ran the study had the cast iron sack to state in its conclusion that retrocausal prayer (he glosses this over by using the term "remote" to imply a spatial rather than temporal distance) "should be considered for use in clinical practice."
Simply. Freaking. Amazing.