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Prayer Study Flawed and Fraud

Columbia University prayer study author pleads guilty to felony charges

This important report from Skeptic Bruce L. Flamm, MD, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, Irvine, Bruceflamm at aol.com. Article reprinted here with permission of Skeptic.Com


In the horrible days following the destruction of the World Trade Center by Islamic zealots many Americans prayed for a miracle or a sign from God. Such a miracle apparently occurred and was widely documented in newspaper and magazine articles. On October 2, 2001 the New York Times reported that researchers at prestigious Columbia University in New York found that infertile women who were prayed for became pregnant twice as often as those who did not have people praying for them. The study's results were absolutely miraculous. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the most advanced form of infertility treatment currently available and represents the last hope for women with severe infertility. Therefore, any technique that could increase the efficacy of IVF by even a few percent would be a medical breakthrough. Yet the Columbia University study claimed to have demonstrated, in a carefully designed randomized controlled trial, that distant prayer by anonymous prayer groups increased the success rate of IVF by an astounding 100%. Days later an article published in newspapers around the nation stated that Rogerio Lobo, chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia and the study's lead author, told Reuters Health that, "Essentially, there was a doubling of the pregnancy rate in the group that was prayed for." ABC News medical editor and Good Morning America commentator Dr. Timothy Johnson reported that, "A new study on the power of prayer over pregnancy reports surprising results; but many physicians remain skeptical."

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