You’ve got to be kidding me

Do you detect the little scientific and logical problem in this press release about a new prayer study?

A ground-breaking online study was recently initiated to discover if Americans believe prayer has a place in medicine. Shannon Pierotti, a graduate student at USciences, is using a social networking basis for recruiting participants in a National survey to assess attitudes regarding the inclusion of spirituality and prayer in medical practice.

What’s “ground-breaking” about that? She’s simply using an online poll, advertised on religious sites, to ask if respondents believe that magical incantations have a medical benefit. What’s the point? We know how people will respond, and it’s completely meaningless, except as a confirmation that religious people think religion matters.

And the rationale sucks.

Findings from an extensive scientific literature review showed a need for data from a United States survey to determine whether further progress towards standardization of a holistic approach in medical clinical practice is indicated through the incorporation of spirituality by introducing spiritual assessment tools and resources for patients that include use of prayer and its associated benefits.

That’s impressively vacuous.

Go ahead. Take the survey. I think they need input from a few people who are not credulous, gullible loons. It’s only a few pages long, and the questions are easy — they ask how likely you are to ask your doctor for spiritual aid, for instance. Let’s make sure they’ve got a whole bunch of people responding who reject all that nonsense.