Re: Instances of prayer in the series "Forensic Files"
The circumstances of the stories are evidence enough that prayer was answered in those cases.
. . .
And yes of course there are lots of cases that never get solved and didn't make it into the TV series for that reason.
Thank you for presenting an excellent analogy for how natural selection works. Especially with that last sentence, that the only cases that that show examines are the ones that got solved.
And out of that very small set of cases, you are similarly selecting for those that involved prayer. So you are looking at a smaller set of cases which got solved, got selected for this show, and involved somebody having prayed. An extremely small set compared to the set of all cases.
Unless there is evidence that people did in fact pray you can't assume that they did. Even believers forget to pray, which is really ****** of us.
It has been said that as long as there are history exams, there will be prayer in public schools. Even lapsed believers will often pray in dire situations, provided they have time to sit and wait for whatever's coming to hit them (sudden life-and-death situations, such as sudden car or plane crashes, simply don't provide enough time to say anything more than "SH*****T!", reportedly the most common final word in the cockpit voice recording). Obviously, one can safely assume a lot more praying going on that you would allow.
So for the cases that make it to that show, prayer is not the leading factor. Instead the leading factors in descending order would be:
Being selected for the show.
Having been solved (which you yourself point out).
Involving someone having prayed.
We neglected to include the factor of the phase of the moon, which would probably rank as third on that list.
Sorry, actually a good #3 factor would be the type of community (eg, big city, suburbs, small town, countryside, wilderness), which in turn would be a contributing factor for #2.
From a Unitarian call to prayer: "We do this knowing that prayer does not change things, but rather prayer changes us and we are the agents of change."
I'm interested in the subject of answered prayer and want to choose examples where it seems clear that is what happened.
Of course you are. And you even made some mention of the filtering process being used. But shouldn't you make your intentions as explicitly clear as possible?
Is your intention just to examine the extremely small set of what might be answered prayers? Or is your intention to imply that many prayers are answered?
If your intention is the former, then what aspects of those answered prayers are you interested in investigating?
If your intention is the latter, then you are in danger of misrepresenting your data set (also, I am assuming that you know what "former" and "latter" mean, which I realize could be a stretch).
There is an overall set of all events.
There is a subset of those events in which prayers were uttered. Given that the vast majority of those events involve multiple people, the probability that nobody within that sample had uttered any prayer at all, regardless of to whichever god.
Within that subset, there is a narrower subset of those whose prayers were to the Christian god.
Within that subset, there is a far narrower subset of those whose prayers could possibly be interpreted as having been answered.
You want to concentrate on that smallest, most narrow subset of events.
Just exactly how representative is that smallest, most narrow subset of events? And are you going to be honest about how small and narrow it is?
So the question remains unanswered: And are you going to be honest about how small and narrow [that set which consists of "answered prayers"] is?
IOW, a simple disclaimer and statement of intent so as to make your intentions quite clear. Shouldn't be too much to ask for or to suggest, yet this is suddenly becoming yet another inconvenient question for you to dodge.