TRC #275: Validity of Astrology + Effectiveness of Prayer + Holiday Suicide Rates

Title-1The gang brings out the big guns for episode 275 of the Reality Check as they give their special TRC take on some classic skeptical topics. Darren leads off the show with a segment analyzing the claims made by Astrology and whether or not they make sense. Next, Elan looks into the studies that have been done to determine the effectiveness of intercessory prayer on health outcomes. Adam closes things out with a look into whether or not suicide rates increase during the holidays. Enjoy the show!

“I think it’s a gem of an episode” – Pat Roach

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HowStuffWorks (Horoscope)

Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation



Wikipedia – Studies on Intercessory Prayer

God in the CCU?  A critique of the San Francisco hospital study on intercessory prayer and healing  Gary P. Posner, M.D.

Mayo Clinic – Study, review and editorial focus on religion, spirituality and medicine

Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: a multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer.

The Reality Check #18: Prayer + Safety Laws + Myth of the Week: Coke Tabs

Holiday Suicide Rates Christmas Suicides

Suicide Statistics – Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto Branch

Resources for the Prevention of Suicide and Crisis Counseling


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3 Responses to TRC #275: Validity of Astrology + Effectiveness of Prayer + Holiday Suicide Rates

  1. David says:

    I believe prayer really works, in a way that was not tested here. My claim would be that prayer confers benefits to the person doing the praying, by helping him work out thoughts, build confidence, and achieve better mental focus. In some cases this might indirectly help people other than the person praying, e.g. a man might pray for his wife’s health and thus cause himself to manifest greater benevolence towards her after praying. I might sound like an atheist but I’m not. I just believe this is a real, testable and repeatable benefit from prayer.

  2. Thanks for the comment David. Your hypothesis definitely seems plausible. Have you been able to find any studies testing this?

  3. David says:

    I don’t know of any studies, but if you were to consider prayer to be a form of meditation, that could broaden the search a little bit. There almost have to be studies on the efficacy of meditation.

    Oh and since I’m writing on this a second time, I’ll throw in one more thought. I think when a person prays and says, “God, what should I do?”, that just might be indistinguishable from, “Self, what would a godly person do?”, in terms of the results.

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