Prayer, religion, and science

That’s literally what you’d be testing for. The rate at which God says yes or no. It should be measurable by the real world effects.

One can’t have their cake and eat it too here. Either the stuff has real-world benefits or it doesn’t.


Or not answer. Sometimes God can take years to answer a prayer.

The benefit of that does seem rather limited :slight_smile: Long term studies then.

There are measurable effects on the body when you “trick your brain”. Standing with your hands on your hips and your shoulders back in a “superhero pose” actually does cause your body to produce more testosterone. Sitting with your shoulders slumped over in a “low power pose” causes a greater production of cortisol. That’s a study that can easily be replicated. You can even try it yourself — next time you need to do something major, see how you feel when you sit in a chair, shoulders slumped forward, compared to standing tall with your shoulders back. I guarantee you’ll feel more confident handling the task if you start from a “power pose”.

With that in mind, consider a prayer with the mind truly believing that their god will answer their prayer. “Science” might say that your prayer has no effect on healing or finding the solution to the problem or whatever, but there are plenty of anecdotes about “miracles” due to positive mindsets and faith. Yes, there are also plenty of times “prayer didn’t work”, but at some point, everyone’s gotta die, so that’s not exactly evidence of prayer being B.S.

I would say that there is no evidence to support a direct physiological effect on healing of other prayed-for people who have no knowledge that they are being prayed for and who are not influenced in any physical way by the prayer activities.

But there certainly may be a physiological effect in the persons who are themselves doing the praying activities, as in when you are praying for yourself.

Yes, I could agree with that, if the “miracles” are attributed to your own actions due to your own mindset, and not to some hitherto unknown action-at-a-distance caused by prayer. This then is similar to the viewpoint mentioned in my other post, that as an evolutionary survival mechanism, irrational “faith” to keep going in spite of a hopeless situation may confer a survival advantage, which may explain why human brains may have a tendency for faith: Spanish "artist" cleans a temple while drunk - #16 by Hayashi .


This should not be an acceptable answer, as it is an appeal to authority. Blind trust in any authority is detrimental to a democratic society. We all should critically evaluate evidence and arguments (where critical evaluation includes consideration of biased sources, logical fallacies, conflicts of interest, etc.), where possible gather our own data via our own experiments or simulations, and then decide for ourselves what the truth is.

Also, if you disagree with some presented evidence and explanation, it’s not enough just to say “I think explanation A wrong, and I think this other explanation B is right. End of story” – you also need to present your own counter-evidence to support the alternative explanation B.

This all requires that you really do in fact want to know the truth.

Engineers are necessarily involved daily with the truth, because whether constructing a bridge or an airplane, you have to understand correctly the complex behavior of the materials under various dynamic conditions, or else your bridge or airplane will simply fail. So you have to keep trying over and over until you understand the true nature of how bridges and airplanes behave, in order to build something that not only works but that excels at what it does.

Also, I saw an interview with an Olympic athlete who was asked what her main motivation in life was. Her mild-mannered answer was, “to know the truth.” I think what she meant by that is that getting the gold medal requires almost superhuman dedication and the best mental and physical training methods. But how do you know if you have mastered your sport – if you have understood the “truth” of your sport – better than anyone else in the world? At the Olympics. For one moment in time, athletes have a chance to prove that their training and their results are the best in the world – that they, better than anyone else, have mastered the true essence of their sport.

But many people probably don’t want to know the truth. It takes dedicated effort to find the truth, and truth may be unpleasant (like, “you have been training at your sport the wrong way for 12 years”, or “eating pizza every day isn’t good for you”). It’s much easier to listen to somebody else saying “this is the truth” and to accept it, instead of questioning it and trying to change your own mind. It’s also very easy to fool oneself by selectively finding only information to support one’s existing viewpoint (like, searching the Internet for articles saying “eating pizza every day is okay”), and not really making an effort to change one’s own opinion.

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Real world benefits being the key phrase Praying has been tested before under fairly scientific conditions.

I totally agree with what you say here. I think technology is truly what gives science its worth. TVs work for a reason and yes engineering is the appllication of scientific theory.
I think this article pretty much sums it up

I wholly disagree and I think it’s a mistake to approach science or religion with the idea that they’re mutually exclusive.

Many people might not know Newtons “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy” laid out the foundations of classical mechanics and universal gravitation while also acknowledging the nature of his god for example.

Theology was considered the ultimate science and scientists were religious as the study for truth starts with the assumption that there is truth and it can be known. These days we just take these assumptions of truth and knowledge for granted when it was a highly debated topic in epistemology.

I also find it a bit ironic that simulation theory is becoming more accepted as one of the reasons is because of how precise the universe and laws within it are like the speed of light. But simulation theory does bring up a good point.

With how fast technology is progressing in areas such as video games and VR, it’s highly probable we would be able to have the technology to create a simulation like our perceived reality. That brings up the question of if we are in a simulation, what is the creator of the simulation to us? God or gods?

If we are instead in base reality before such a simulation is possible, why is there a base reality? And is there a creator of base reality because there looks to be evidence that its a simulation.

I must admit that I also was throwing around the word “truth” rather carelessly in my post above, but perhaps a quote from Indiana Jones can bring us back on track:

So in science, the only thing that matters – as in the recent LK-99 room-temperature superconductor experiments – is whether or not observable facts can be verified and experimentally reproduced by independent researchers in different labs.

But I get the feeling that what draws people to faith and religion is not the search for observable facts that can be verified and experimentally reproduced by independent researchers in different labs. Isn’t it more the search for a sense of community, purpose, fulfillment, meaning, hope, and the like?

Discussions about simulations (meaning whether or not our perceived existence is actually part of some larger simulation) are interesting, but if they don’t provide us with falsifiable hypotheses that can be supported (not necessarily “proved”, but “supported” to a statistically-significant confidence level) with the appropriately-gathered experimental data, then such discussions are philosophical rather than scientific.

On the other hand, another meaning for the word “simulation” is the use of simulation software based on mathematical equations to describe the behavior of materials and fluids, as might be used for building a bridge or an airfoil. Such simulations can be quite useful for scientists and engineers as they can allow rapid experimentation and verification without the cost of building a physical prototype. After a promising set of design parameters is found in the simulator, then a prototype can be built and tested.

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Lots of different reasons. But understanding truth and reality is a major topic for religions. Buddhism teaches our perceived reality is an illusion, which has major implications on truth and if it can be known. While others like Christianity makes pretty bold claims on truth and reality. Jesus says in the Bible , “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth .

Here’s something that might blow your mind. This guy claims to have see code running using DMT looking at a laser light. Other people have now claimed to have see it as well. Could we use psychedelics to see prime reality that we can’t with our conscious states?

I myself have seen time not as progressively linear and moving forward on salvia but rather something that can go forward or backwards with my conscious moment being the current. It’s a wild experience.

I watched the video you linked. There’s not enough evidence for me to further consider his claims seriously. The guy seems sincere, and he starts out by saying essentially that “everyone sees the same, concrete, stabilized thing when smoking this drug and looking at this laser light”. Fine. Then I want to see interviews with all of these people and hear what they say they saw. That’s the bare minimum for further consideration of this idea. But at the end of the video his claims seem to weaken, when he speaks of maybe seeing faces, maybe seeing some undefined “structures”, maybe being able to “read things”. But what specifically can he read? What letters? What words? What numbers? Where exactly in space, how many centimeters or meters away from the laser light and away from the real-world wall on which the laser light is projected? Do native speakers of Chinese see the same letters, words, and numbers? If this is an alternative, objectively-existing reality, as the author claims, then native Chinese speakers and native English speakers should see the same thing. But we’re not even that far yet – there are no specifics about what he says he saw, and there are no reports by other people saying that they saw those exact same things in the exact same locations.

Sorry, but this just sounds like form constants to me, in other words, something happening in his own brain. He didn’t present any evidence that what he thinks he saw in the altered state exists in some objective way.

This reminds me of a scene in the movie Inception, where the main character’s wife is convinced that they are living in a dream, and the only way to return to reality is to kill herself. The wife jumps off of a high-rise, to her apparent death, and the husband mourns her loss. But whose reality is the real one? I’m not going to kill myself, or risk permanently altering my brain, to take a chance at finding some vague alternate reality for which there is currently, in my opinion, basically no evidence.

If multiple independent reports of volunteers all verify seeing exactly the same things in exactly the same locations in exactly the same ways under exactly the same conditions, then that might be a first step, that could then be followed up by brain scans and other imaging technology to visualize what a person is seeing based on their MRI data. But again, we’re getting ahead of ourselves – right now, we have only the enthusiastic but vague claims of the one guy.

In the comments section for the Youtube video, one person recommends, as a test, that multiple people take the drug at the same time, look at the same laser light together, and all write down what the see, as a test of consistency. But the author then deftly evades this request by saying “Too much is happening for you to be able to write it down”. Sorry, but that’s a big indication to me that there is nothing objective about this experience – it’s most likely all subjective, in the observer’s own brain, being created on-the-fly, perhaps similar to a lucid dream, or synesthesia – combined with the altered perception of the drug, an ambiguous input signal (the laser light reflecting off of the wall, which exhibits a subjective speckle pattern), and the suggestive effects of being told what you are supposed to see, like “You should be seeing some numbers now… are you seeing green numbers flowing down the wall, just like in the Matrix? You are? That’s great!”.

In the Youtube comments, the author did say, to his credit, that he wanted to run double-blind tests and avoid influencing the experimental subjects by avoiding suggesting to them beforehand what they should be seeing. That’s a step in the right direction, but at the moment there is no data that I could see. Given the lack of rigor in the author’s current observations, and given his click-bait title of having “proof” when nothing of the sort was presented, I’m not likely to be investing much more time in following his claims.

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I don’t agree with your argument that everyone must see the exact same thing for it to be true.

I’ll few interesting points.

  1. Light or photons can carry information. If you were to see information from a laser beam using DMT, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s evidence of an alternative reality. Perhaps you’re able to see the light from a different perspective than we process it with our eyes and brains in the conscious state.

  2. When I used salvia, I saw time as not linear and always progressive as we would perceive it going about our day. I saw the future and past and the present all existing. Always like a 4th dimension. It wasn’t until much later that I realized what I experienced was how many physicists like Einstein would believe time to be like.

What is even more interesting was that I’ve found so many other people with a very similar accounts. We didn’t see it exactly the same, some saw it like old film movies on a line with an infinite path. Others saw it like a carpet. But we all saw something that changed our view of time.

So I don’t believe we must see the exact same thing to discover truth.

  1. This one is probably the strongest evidence of simulation theory. The double slit experiment.

Particles can be at multiple states at once and changes their behavior when observed. Could we be able to see things in different states with the help psychedelics?

I’m not saying we are in a simulation, I don’t know. But I do think it’s something interesting to think about and I do think perhaps psychedelics have a role in shaping our knowledge of the world. I think it’s something we lost, there are evidence of humans using them in the past to find truths like the oracle of Delphi.

I might give the DMT experiment a try at some point when I have more free time to commit to such an experiment.

The problem is in most countries using psychedelics is illegal. I have no idea why.

I think I’d like to try some magic mushrooms but I also don’t want to violate laws even if they are stupid.

The only time I’ve ever gotten hallucinations is taking 5-10mg of stilonox, but I prefer not using a large dose of benzos, but they’re also the easiest things to obtain legally in Taiwan.

This article brushes upon the jist: Religion and Science (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Thank you for the motivation to dig in a bit. :beers:

I would say more like a role in shaping our “experience” (not “knowledge”) of the world.

But what is the use of such experiences?

For example, if you have some new perception of time when under the influence, does that new perception lead to any scientifically-testable hypotheses? Einstein’s insights into time did lead to scientifically-testable hypotheses, such as clock skew in GPS satellites caused by relativistic time shifts. That’s a real physical phenomenon that we can observe. But if altered mental states do not lead to any new scientifically-testable and falsifiable hypotheses, then any “insights” gained while in the altered state can’t lead to any scientific progress.

Back to the question – what is the use of these altered-state experiences? I suppose they make you feel things in a new way and see things in a new perspective. But meditation, lucid dreaming, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, chanting, and other techniques can also give you new perspectives.

Are these new perspectives useful? In the sense of encouraging self-discovery and creativity, possibly yes.

But it’s a huge leap to go from discussing subjective new experiences to claiming to have “proof” of (1) seeing an objective alternate reality that (2) has floating in mid-air visible code fragments (3) which run a simulation (4) which is responsible for creating our normal lived experience. I know that is not the claim that you are making – but that is the claim that the author of the Youtube video is making. It’s a woefully unsupported claim. Even if he saw something, and other people saw it too, how does he suddenly equate that “something” to simulation code that creates our reality? The simpler, and less sensational, explanation is that the brain’s perception may be being altered in a specific way, causing similar effects across people, similar to the idea of form constants (the catalog of shapes tending to be seen during hallucinogenic experiences, likely related to the physical mechanisms of perception) mentioned earlier.

Science can enforce your faith by creating awe for the universe. But no one, I hope, should be using the Bible as a science textbook.


Who or what was the prime mover ? And God is not governed by the laws of space and time that is why God is God

Given that science is really supposed to be about the unbias figuring out of facts, one might hope the religions should really support the sciences in searching for truth. That is, if they truly believe their narratives are real, science could only prove them right. That’s the nice thing about actual science, unbiased, purity (scientists on the other hand… :grimacing: ). Just facts and bettering their understanding. Religions best friend, really :slight_smile: not sure why they oppose each h other, the religious institutes really should be paying their fair share of grant money to figure this stuff out!

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Science only works in this universe due to the laws of the universe that were created by God . He who was , who is and will be.
Miraculous things can happen when God decides those rules in certain instances do not apply.