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Author Topic:   Faith healing:proof of god, or placebo effect?
Dirk
Member (Idle past 2099 days)
Posts: 84
Joined: 08-20-2010


Message 31 of 77 (598201)
12-29-2010 1:24 PM


Placebo?
Depending on the exact circumstances, I am not sure whether the placebo effect can completely explain any positive effects of faith healing (esp. since all studies I have seen document no positive effect at all or even a negative effect, see Frako's post). What I have read about these preachers that lay on hands in front of large crowds (which is of course only a small subset of all possible ways of faith healing) suggests that they focus on people who are psychologically unstable to begin with and who are therefore easily duped into believing that they have been healed. In this case, I would expect that any effect would be only temporary. And in many of these cases, it's of course just plain fraud.

Edited by Dirk, : typo

Edited by Dirk, : clarity


  
frako
Member
Posts: 2813
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 32 of 77 (598260)
12-29-2010 7:02 PM


Personally i think faith healing is also overpublicised, i have an acquaintance he busted his back in an accident the doctors told him he would never walk again, he got really depressed and kept staering at the xray photos 1 month after he had been discharged he felt a burning sensation in his back and after that he could feel his legs now after moths of therapy he can walk as any normal person. The doctors are still scratching their heads. Tough he is not religious he never was, he never prayed for a miracle and i seriously doubt his brother or mother did.

Now had the person been a Christian and at least once said god had something to do with it it would be all over the news with pastors behind him saying how god is good and what not. Because he is not it hardly made the papers.

I think a lot of those so called healing miracles are only labeled miracles because we still know too little about the human body and its regenerative and healing abilities.


Replies to this message:
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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1262 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 33 of 77 (598347)
12-30-2010 12:57 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by frako
12-29-2010 7:02 PM


Personally i think faith healing is also overpublicised, i have an acquaintance he busted his back in an accident the doctors told him he would never walk again, he got really depressed and kept staering at the xray photos 1 month after he had been discharged he felt a burning sensation in his back and after that he could feel his legs now after moths of therapy he can walk as any normal person. The doctors are still scratching their heads. Tough he is not religious he never was, he never prayed for a miracle and i seriously doubt his brother or mother did.

Now had the person been a Christian and at least once said god had something to do with it it would be all over the news with pastors behind him saying how god is good and what not. Because he is not it hardly made the papers.

This is remarkably similar to something that happened to my grandfather...except that he was religious and did pray.

He took his statistically unlikely recovery as miraculous divine intervention, and devoted his life to his deity as a Christian educator.


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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2792 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 34 of 77 (598416)
12-30-2010 7:33 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Omnivorous
12-28-2010 7:27 PM


Re: Astounding Science
I don't think the psychological impact of a faith healing or an intense will to live is going to reconnect a severed spine or regrow a limb, OK? You can let that poor horse move on to the other side.

And your straw man can ride him over. My GP canít reconnect a severed spine either but Iíd not demand that to credit her abilities.

Is that what you are denying? & Perhaps we can just paint you wrong.

I havenít actually denied anything; and, which of my questions was wrong?

quote:
  • Do you have any reports of truly astounding placebo effects?
  • But will it do something that will show up on a lab report or a survey of ones turnips?
  • What reason is there to ascribe the placebo effect to anything more than an attitude adjustment: a known, non-astounding effect?
  • Have you anything to show that the change in attitude isn't the entirety of the effect?
  • What real effect?
  • What evidence it there that the patient ⇛is⇚ better?
  • That the patient reports that they feel better?
  • Do bones knit faster when we have a better attitude, or is attitude better when we have a better attitude?

I donít think a placebo is worthless, but that is not the point in question.

As far as it goes I donít believe that a placebo is worthless, but itís Ďhealingí not worthless that was put on the table. And Iím not even a stickler for how much healing. If it can make a five day cold turn into a four day cold Iíd consider that pretty darn good. But itís just not there.

Not to be too critical of your site but there is a reason itís called alternative medicine. Thatís code for ďnot supported by the evidenceĒ. (Chopraís Quantum Healing? Geez, Call 1-900-psychic and ask them if astral projection is a cure for claustrophobia.)

We know that the conscious mind can deliberately raise or lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to particular areas, raise or lower body temperature, and, as noted above, accelerate healing of fractures and retard the progression of organic disease.

If I fill my mouth with chocolate pudding and squash my cheeks I can produce measurable thrust. Not only wonít I make it to the moon anytime soon, Iíll not be achiving the Ballon. Placebo as medicine has made the same advances over the last few hundred years as tarot readings.

I weighed your flippancy and didn't look for any data on that one. weighed your flippancy and didn't look for any data on that one.

Looking over my posts I think the statement I was most egregiously flippant with was ďMind over matter would be astounding, mind over mind not so much.Ē I can use my mind to make my fingers move. So mind can clearly effect matter.

It's more than fine to be skeptical; it's essential. It's also lots of fun to express your skepticism with dismissive humor--I know, because I do that, too.

Just so long as weíre all on the same side in the conspiracy to reject any and all truths put forth by Architect Iím cool.

It's a shame you didn't look for or cite any evidence one way or the other, though--and I thought you like2know! Mockery is more tasty with a garnish of information.

Iíd be interested to know how you know what I have or havenít looked for. Hummm! The power of mind over body in the healing sense has a long way to go before the burden of proof shift over to my side of the fence.

Iím not very good with research yet. I am in awe of those of you who can find ó and seemingly digest ó all that information. Arachophilia over in the deconversion thread is just blowing me away. My respect for the most of you ( Buz and ICANT your on the edge, but on this side of it. Archieí Haha, dude.) is immeasurable. I hope I donít have to resort to emoticons to make that clear.

AbE:

Isn't dismissing a hypothesis for which there is, indeed, some evidence, merely a biased denial?

I think it far worst to jump on board too quickly.

Edited by lyx2no, : Missed a bit


When cometh the day
We lowly ones
Through quiet reflection
And great dedication
Master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make
The bugger's eyes water
óRoger Waters
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2792 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 35 of 77 (598418)
12-30-2010 7:44 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by ProtoTypical
12-28-2010 10:26 PM


I Liked This
I'm going to have to go over this a bit before I can comment. A quick skim certainly piques my interest.


When cometh the day
We lowly ones
Through quiet reflection
And great dedication
Master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make
The bugger's eyes water
óRoger Waters
This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-28-2010 10:26 PM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-30-2010 9:35 PM lyx2no has responded

  
lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2792 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 36 of 77 (598422)
12-30-2010 7:58 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Panda
12-28-2010 11:16 PM


When Time Avails
I'll be sure to do this justice. But I've a hard time taking a lot of it seriously when a pain metric is how tightly one scrunches ones forehead. I don't doubt for a second that with the help of biofeedback people can learn to work (or not work) 'muscles' they didn't know were controllable ó I hear that's how Vulcans learn how to do that one eyebrow thing ó but I can not-blink when someone slaps my face and it still hurts.

Be it known, I'm not inconvincible.


When cometh the day
We lowly ones
Through quiet reflection
And great dedication
Master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make
The bugger's eyes water
óRoger Waters
This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by Panda, posted 12-28-2010 11:16 PM Panda has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by Panda, posted 01-01-2011 6:16 PM lyx2no has responded

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1774
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 37 of 77 (598436)
12-30-2010 9:35 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by lyx2no
12-30-2010 7:44 PM


Re: I Liked This
lyx2no said

If it can make a five day cold turn into a four day cold Iíd consider that pretty darn good. But itís just not there.

It most certainly is there but there is nothing miraculous going on. A placebo is simply a trigger that stimulates the brain into action. Medicine is an assistant to the body right? It is the body that does the healing and the brain controls the body (at least parts of it in my case). The brain can stimulate or repress the immune system. Your brain can produce enough adrenaline to kill you. Take a look at this list of the effects of laughter.

Placebo as medicine has made the same advances over the last few hundred years as tarot readings.

Perhaps because it has been considered in the same light. It should be thoroughly investigated, dissected, understood and then amplified.

It would not surprise me too much if our brains are capable of a great deal more control over our bodies than we currently employ. Of course, I am just a layman and all my evidence is anecdotal.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by lyx2no, posted 12-30-2010 7:44 PM lyx2no has responded

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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5953
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 38 of 77 (598453)
12-30-2010 11:21 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by lyx2no
12-30-2010 7:33 PM


Re: Astounding Science
I have thought about contributing to this thread, but you seem to be doing a great job and nailing it on the head.

I have a huge issue with alternative medicine. This line spells it out.

Thatís code for ďnot supported by the evidenceĒ.

Oh and arent you a little young to be a Roger Waters fan.
Animals is one of my top 3 favorite albums.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by lyx2no, posted 12-30-2010 7:33 PM lyx2no has acknowledged this reply

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frako
Member
Posts: 2813
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 39 of 77 (598462)
12-31-2010 6:05 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by Theodoric
12-30-2010 11:21 PM


Re: Astounding Science
I have a huge issue with alternative medicine.

So do i tough not all alternative medicine is mumbo jumbo, for instance if i have a headache i do not take an aspirin or any other pill (cause i dont like pills), i squeeze some lemon juice in to my coffee and it works better then an aspirin. My girlfriend has migranes i gave her some ginger after the pills did not help anymore and now she takes ginger insted of pills and it works beter.

Though if i ever get a serious illness i am not going to a witch doctor or a priest but a real doctor.


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Replies to this message:
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Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 40 of 77 (598487)
12-31-2010 1:49 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by frako
12-31-2010 6:05 AM


Re: Astounding Science
frako writes:

for instance if i have a headache i do not take an aspirin or any other pill (cause i dont like pills), i squeeze some lemon juice in to my coffee and it works better then an aspirin.

Excedrin, a common over-the-counter headache pain reliever, contains acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine. You could probably get the same effect squeezing distilled water in your coffee, its the caffeine helping the ache.

A tiny amount of vitamin C and potassium isn't likely to effect your pain, and I would wager that you haven't the faintest justification for why it should. Its like you swallowed an Oxycodone pill with a swig of Gatorade and then started to swear by Gatorade as a painkiller.

Thats not the placebo effect, its just not paying attention.


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 Message 39 by frako, posted 12-31-2010 6:05 AM frako has responded

Replies to this message:
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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2792 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 41 of 77 (598534)
12-31-2010 10:50 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by ProtoTypical
12-30-2010 9:35 PM


Re: I Liked This
It most certainly is there but there is nothing miraculous going on.

Maybe. But people are so willing to fool themselves that it's hard to make up something stupid enough that no one will believe it. The joker who came up with Nanny-tea as a cure for measles succeeded in proving that very point. With that in mind, an ounce of caution is worth a pound of sure.

A placebo is simply a trigger that stimulates the brain into action.

Maybe. Though a stimulus of our midichlorians into realignment with the qi would explain it equally well. That's a problem.

Medicine is an assistant to the body right? It is the body that does the healing and the brain controls the body.

Not right. Antibiotics will work in a marinated corpse.

The brain can stimulate or repress the immune system.

In the same way you can convince a lion into mauling you, yeah! The lion is going to maul you one way or another, but a few good jabs with a pointy stick and you can be assured your patience won't be tested. But I'm not prone to calling that control.

Your brain can produce enough adrenaline to kill you.

The paired wads of tissue on top of my kidneys is not my brain. My brain is lower down and forward.

Take a look at this list of the effects of laughter.

Don't make me look for a list of benefits of pee pee chablis. Dang, and I just made that up. When I'm right, I'm right.

Perhaps because it has been considered in the same light.

Why would it stay in that light? Even miniscule effects aren't that hard to prove. We can pull teeny tiny temperature changes out of the CMBR that we couldn't possibly measure directly. Who doubts those fluctuation? So how could the most skeptical observer not be force to accept the reality of clinically useful placebo effects if "It most certainly is there" as you assert?

It should be thoroughly investigated, dissected, understood and then amplified.

The "and then amplified" needs to be qualified.

It would not surprise me too much if our brains are capable of a great deal more control over our bodies than we currently employ.

Let us say that we do someday learn to intentionally control innervate tissue and fix what ails us. I predict that 'New Age healing" will evaporate. It's the magic, not the medicine that appeals.

Edited by lyx2no, : Hit submit too soon.

Edited by lyx2no, : Size

Edited by lyx2no, : Final submission.


When cometh the day
We lowly ones
Through quiet reflection
And great dedication
Master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make
The bugger's eyes water
óRoger Waters
This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by ProtoTypical, posted 12-30-2010 9:35 PM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by ProtoTypical, posted 01-01-2011 10:19 AM lyx2no has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 12159
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 42 of 77 (598552)
01-01-2011 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by frako
12-29-2010 7:02 PM


Attitude and its effect on healing
Frako writes:

Personally i think faith healing is also over-publicized, I have an acquaintance he busted his back in an accident the doctors told him he would never walk again, he got really depressed and kept staring at the x-ray photos 1 month after he had been discharged he felt a burning sensation in his back and after that he could feel his legs now after months of therapy he can walk as any normal person.
The doctors are still scratching their heads. Though he is not religious (he never was, he never prayed for a miracle and i seriously doubt his brother or mother did.)

Now had the person been a Christian and at least once said god had something to do with it it would be all over the news with pastors behind him saying how god is good and what not. Because he is not it hardly made the papers.

I think a lot of those so called healing miracles are only labeled miracles because we still know too little about the human body and its regenerative and healing abilities.

Attitude and resolve play a role in the healing process. If one visualizes themselves healed it may well make a difference in the response within the body itself. The patient needs to take an active role in the healing process, however. Simply "letting go and letting God" is a passive attitude...whereas Imagining yourself strong and victorious could be beneficial. (guided imagery...meditation...etc)


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ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1774
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 43 of 77 (598553)
01-01-2011 10:19 AM
Reply to: Message 41 by lyx2no
12-31-2010 10:50 PM


Re: I Liked This
It's the magic, not the medicine that appeals.

Not to me. I do not believe in magic. It does not exist as such. The words super natural and magic mean, to me, unexplained. If I see something that I can not explain I do not assume that it is magic. I am getting accustomed to not knowing why things are happening . Upon further investigation, most things, so far, have happened for a reason. I have no reason to believe that this trend will not continue.

As information recedes from the personal the probability of corruption increases. When I look at a video like this I am at a loss. I have a high regard for Bill Moyers and his history of credibility. What are we to make of the apparent contradictions in the video with the natural laws as we understand them? Why didn't Bill jump in there and try to flip the guy over? I don't know. What if you tried to do it and could not? Would it be valid information at that point?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by lyx2no, posted 12-31-2010 10:50 PM lyx2no has responded

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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2792 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 44 of 77 (598569)
01-01-2011 12:26 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by ProtoTypical
01-01-2011 10:19 AM


Qi*
I do not believe in magic.

If you believe that there is anything going on in that video that isn't going on in the WWF you do believe in magic.

There's more than one way to believe in magic. When watching your sport of choice, and you see your boy moving to score a point, and your anti-boy moving to prevent the point, are you up off of the couch waving your fist incanting "Go, go, go."? That is a conscious or non-conscious belief in magic.

For me it's non-conscious. I don't have an intellectual belief that my rolling fist is going to help propel my boy in his course. But I learned as a wee babe that if I think the right thought the colorful, fuzzy thing with the laces will move to my will and that lesson in magic carries on emotionally till the day I die.

How many of our belief are colored by the magic we learn in the crib?

What if you tried to do it and could not? Would it be valid information at that point?

I face the fact that I can be fooled before I get to that point. I'd let those who are better at testing such things than I be my counsel.

If I were the only person on Earth that had color vision it would take me a few hours to convince the scientific community that I could do something innately that they could only do with their spectrograph. The'd also be able to look into my eye and see a different arrangement of photo receptors that would lead them to the understanding of why.

Qi has not been demonstrated in a millennium even in the scientists' 'chirographs' and there is no sign of a mechanism by which it could function if it does exist.

Conversely, we (Bill Moyers included) are easy to fool if the trick pleases us.

And remember how we came to be. We evolved under the physics of the Universe. Evolution didn't invent color. It was there and we adopted it. Where in the Universe is that Qi storehouse?

*I uses "qi" here and in the immediate future as a shorthand for any and all of the mechanisms by which the plecebo or faith healing can work. I don't mean qi as in qi proper.


When cometh the day
We lowly ones
Through quiet reflection
And great dedication
Master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make
The bugger's eyes water
óRoger Waters
This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by ProtoTypical, posted 01-01-2011 10:19 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 57 by ProtoTypical, posted 01-04-2011 7:16 PM lyx2no has responded

  
Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 45 of 77 (598617)
01-01-2011 2:34 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by ProtoTypical
01-01-2011 10:19 AM


Re: I Liked This
Dogmafood writes:

When I look at a video like this I am at a loss. I have a high regard for Bill Moyers and his history of credibility.

Well thats your loss. Whoever that is in the blue jacket with long hair is an enormous ham, and the two geezers watching were just egging them on. Its frankly ridiculous to watch; I've seen street magicians which were far more convincing.

Has it ever occurred to you that no martial arts competition was ever won by a "chi master"? Wonder why nobody ever picked up James Randi's million dollars by showing even the slightest glimmer of these sorts of abilities?

Its because they are hucksters, plain and simple.


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