Debunking Dawkins: The God Delusion
Chapter 2: The God Hypothesis
by Rich Deem

Introduction

The God Delusion

Richard Dawkins has stepped out of his usual area of expertise, biological evolution, and has attempted to become atheism's greatest apologist. Unfortunately, like so many other atheists, he picks out the easy targets with blinders fully engaged, to avoid having to deal with any serious challenges to his beliefs. Yes, I did use the "b" word, since Dawkins actively promotes the belief that there is no God (hence the title) and that atheists should "come out" of the closet and exhibit abundant "atheist pride." Dawkins seems to be "preaching to the choir," since the vast majority of his apologetics is either old or strawman in nature.

Rich Deem

Richard Dawkins' second chapter is a rambling 43-page rant against theism. Instead of writing a real introduction about "the God hypothesis," Dawkins immediately launches into a long list of the supposed faults of Yahweh, including, "jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." And all that is just part of the first sentence! Of course, there are no attempts to substantiate any of the claims by giving examples. In fact, atheists love to point out examples where God judges those who do evil (as if we humans would never stoop so low to do such things by making laws, having police, judges and jails). How dare God judge evil! Dawkins won't tell you that the reason why God told the Israelites to wipe out entire populations was because they were burning their own children as sacrifices.1 Maybe Dawkins would have preferred that we still have those people around so that he could offer his own daughter as a burnt offering.

Let's define God away

Dawkins throws out a statement that he doesn't even attempt to support:

This book will advocate an alternative view: any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution. Creative intelligences, being evolved, necessarily arrive late in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it. God, in the sense defined, is a delusion;

Well, if one assumes that everything is contingent upon the universe, then, of course, God is a delusion. However, by defining God as such, Dawkins doesn't even address the God of Christianity and Judaism, who is clearly stated as having created the entire universe. It is Dawkins who is delusional if he thinks he can define God differently from Christianity and then claim that he has disproved His existence.

Polytheism

Beyond the Cosmos: What Recent Discoveries in Astrophysics Reveal about the Glory and Love of GodDawkins begins his rant against God's existence by "examining" polytheism. Included is a random quotes from The Catholic Encyclopedia, the now defunct charity laws of England and Scotland that used to discriminate against polytheism, and a The Catholic Encyclopedia quote about the Trinity. Dawkins mocks the concept of the Trinity, basically throwing up his hands, saying it can't be understood. For those who want to know, the Trinity is the doctrine that God is one in essence consisting of three persons. In other words, God is one God who interacts with human beings as three persons (The Father, Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). Although logically impossible for three dimensional human beings to exist as three persons, such a feat is logically possible in just one extra dimension (see The Extradimensional Nature of God). Dawkins doesn't even seem to consider the possibility that God is transcendent.

Dawkins then goes on another two page rant against Roman Catholicism, many complaints against which evangelical Christians would agree (e.g., Mary as the Queen of Heaven, praying to saints, etc.). In complaints against Pope John Paul, who attributed his survival of an assassination attempt to intervention by Our Lady of Fatima, saying, 'A maternal hand guided the bullet.' Dawkins muses, "One cannot help wondering why she didn't guide it to miss him altogether." Dawkins closes his rambling section on polytheism by saying that he included it only "to cover myself against a charge of neglect."

Monotheism

Dawkins begins the main target of his attacks with a quote from Gore Vidal, another expert in theology, who claims that monotheism is the "great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture." Dawkins centers his attack on the three major "Abrahamic" religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He then adds a few choice words to describe God, including "obsessed with sexual restrictions," probably referring to the Bible's overly restrictive commands against adultery, rape, incest, prostitution, bestiality, and sodomy. Apparently, Dawkins thinks God should not be concerned with our sexual perversions. It would be good to know which of these sexual restrictions Dawkins himself has actually participated in!

Paul founded Christianity?

Dawkins claims that "Christianity was founded by Paul of Tarsus," contrary to the writings of numerous New Testament authors (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter). Although Paul's Letter to the Romans is radically different from just about any other book of the Bible, the teachings found in the Book of Romans are also found in the Old Testament, the teachings of Jesus, and the teachings of the disciples. So, Paul didn't just make up doctrines to create a new religion. However, he did write the greatest theological treatise of all time in the Book of Romans. Not only are the core doctrines of Christianity found outside Paul's writings, but Paul himself taught many other theological issues that reflect the teachings of Jesus during His years of ministry. So, Paul of Tarsus is not the founder of Christianity (Jesus is), but merely clarified the teachings of the Bible as no other Bible author ever has. For more information, see the page, Did Paul Invent Christianity?

Religion by conquest

Dawkins complains about religions spreading through conquest and cites Christianity's spread by Roman conquest, followed by the Crusaders, conquistadores and other European invaders. What Dawkins doesn't mention is that Christianity originally spread from a small group in Judea to "conquer" the civilized world without firing a shot, hundred of years before Emperor Constantine declared it the official religion of Rome. It is apparent that Dawkins doesn't want to admit that Christianity originally spread by the application of reason and logic. In fact, Christianity spread throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Europe at a time when it was severely persecuted by the Roman Empire, which controlled the entire area.

Dawkins doesn't understand the universe

Dawkins then defines the god against which he is arguing:

"He not only created the universe; he is a personal God dwelling within it, or perhaps outside it (whatever that might mean), possessing the unpleasantly human qualities to which I have alluded."

The disturbing thing about Dawkins' definition of God is that he doesn't seem to understand the nature of the universe. Dawkins doesn't seem to understand that space-time is in a state of continual expansion, and that the universe is neither infinite nor eternal. The cause of this expansion, whether it be natural or supernatural, exists outside the bounds of detectable space-time. So, yes, there is an "outside" the universe. The God of Judaism and Christianity does not just "perhaps" exist outside the universe, but quite explicitly cannot be contained by even the outer reaches of the universe.2

Dawkins doesn't want to be accountable to God

Dawkins goes on to praise the "deist god of Voltaire and Thomas Paine," calling Him "lofty," "grander," and "a physicist to end all physics, the alpha and omega of mathematicians, the apotheosis of designers; a hyper-engineer." The reason for all this praise is because He is "unconcerned with human affairs, sublimely aloof from our private thoughts and hopes, caring nothing for our messy sins or mumbled contritions." From these rants, it is apparent that what Dawkins dislikes most about the God of Christianity is His desire for moral accountability from people. Dawkins doesn't want to be morally accountable, and finds a God who demands such accountability to be evil. Dawkins himself is currently in his third marriage, being divorced twice. Like other atheists, he doesn't like the idea of a god being "concerned with what adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms."3

God - the cosmic killjoy?

The idea that God is a cosmic killjoy, intent on denying us pleasure and good things, is not new to humanity. In fact, this ploy is the exact one Satan used on Eve in the garden of Eden to convince her to eat of the forbidden fruit. In his exchange with Eve, Satan indicated that God was a liar and that He just wanted to keep something good (the fruit) from her, saying, "God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."4 Dawkins has bought into Satan's first lie - that God is a cosmic killjoy - even though he does not believe God exists. See Why Wouldn't God Want Adam and Eve to Have Knowledge of Good and Evil? for more information.

Secularism, the Founding Fathers and the religion of America

The section concerned with the founding father and religion of the United States seems out-of-place. However, it is clear that Dawkins is deeply disturbed that "the United States, founded in secularism" is now one of the most religious nations in the world. First he attributes the religiosity to the large number of immigrants who see the "church as a kind of kin-substitute on alien soil." Then he attributes it to American free enterprise, with churches competing in the marketplace. What Dawkins fails to notice is that in a free market buyers cannot only select their goods, but are free to ignore goods that do not suit them. It is the very fact that Americans embrace religious belief in a free market that disturbs Dawkins so much.

Dawkins quoting out-of-context

Dawkins goes on to quote several founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, who made statement against the religion of their time. John Adams is quoted as saying, "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it." However here is the complete quote in an April 19, 1817, letter to Thomas Jefferson:

"Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, 'This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion at all!!!' But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell."5

In quoting John Adams out-of-context, Dawkins has made it seem that Adams said exactly opposite of what he really intended. No wonder he left out the part where Adams said the world would be "hell" "without religion." Adams directly refuted Dawkins' major premise of the book - that religion is the great evil in the world - and affirmed the opposite - that religion keeps the world from becoming completely evil. In fact, John Adams said some things about Christianity that Dawkins probably won't be quoting any time soon such as, "The Christian religion, in its primitive purity and simplicity, I have entertained for more than sixty years. It is the religion of reason, equity, and love; it is the religion of the head and the heart."6

Caught again quoting out-of-context

Dawkins also quotes James Madison out-of-context, "During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution." The quote comes from his dissent of James Madison to a bill introduced into the General Assembly of Virginia, to levy a general assessment for the support of teachers of religions. Madison's objection was not to Christianity, but to the establishment of state-sponsored "Christianity." This is evident from the first sentence of the quoted section, which Dawkins conveniently leaves out:

"Because experience witnesseth that eccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity..."7 (entire paragraph in context)

It is clear from the context that Madison objected to the "legal establishment of Christianity" - not to Christianity itself, which he indicates has "efficacy." Dawkins fails to quote some of the other things Madison has to say about religion and Christianity in the same document:

The really funny thing is that James Madison would have never accepted Richard Dawkins "as a member of Civil Society," since he has not subjected himself to the "Governour of the Universe."

The most bloody religion ever?

A second quote attributed to John Adams says, "As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?" Of course, Adams (and Richard Dawkins) didn't cite any statistics to backup those claims. In fact, if we look at the actual data, we see that Christianity doesn't even make the top ten for atrocities prior to the 20th century, and is less than 3% of the totals (excluding wars). For the 20th century, "Christian" atrocities don't even make the top 20, whereas atheistic regimes claim three out of the top five spots for mass murder. For more information, see What About Atrocities That Have Been Done in the Name of Religion.

Religious people in U.S. Politics - Oh my!

The fact that many of the leaders of the United States claim to be Christians who express their religious beliefs in public disturbs Dawkins saying, "...Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Adams and all their friends. Whether they were atheists, agnostics, deists or Christians, they would have recoiled in horror from the theocrats of early 21st-century Washington." Even though the Constitution established a secular form of government, it does not preclude religious people from participating in it. In fact, religious tests (or tests for lack of religious belief) are specifically prohibited for elected officials. I am sure that Mr. Dawkins would continue to vocally oppose religion if he were elected to a political office. It is unreasonable to expect people of faith (or lack of faith) to stop expressing their opinions just because they are elected officials. At least with a democracy, the people can de-elect leaders who express opinions they find unacceptable.

The poverty of agnosticism

Dawkins begins his discussion of agnosticism by expressing the opinion of his school chapel preacher, calling agnostics "namby-pamby, mushy pap, weak-tea, weedy, pallid fence-sitters." It is not a quote, so one wonders if Dawkins' real opinion about agnostics falls into that realm. Dawkins defines two types of agnosticism 1), TAP (Temporary Agnosticism in Practice) and PAP (Permanent Agnosticism in Principle). Most questions in science that have not been conclusively answered fall into the TAP category. Dawkins cites only one example of PAP - what colors look like through other people's sensory machinery. He disputes that the existence of God falls under PAP. Dawkins rightly indicates that agnosticism is warranted in TAP when the data is not clear. I agree with his assessment of the question of God's existence, but would probably assign a different probability to the question:

"...agnosticism about the existence of God belongs firmly in the temporary or TAP category. Either he exists or he doesn't. It is a scientific question; one day we may know the answer, and meanwhile we can say something pretty strong about the probability."

Probability and agnosticism

Dawkins quotes from T. H. Huxley, who first coined the term "agnostic." However, he disagrees with Huxley's method of determining if a point is scientifically valid. Whereas Huxley wanted substantial evidence, Dawkins is willing to go with probability. When I suggested that evidence for God's existence be based upon probability a few years ago, I got nothing but complaints from numerous atheists. Maybe now that Dawkins thinks it is a good idea, it will be better received. Dawkins classifies people's beliefs in God into the following categories:

  1. Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God
  2. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. De facto theist.
  3. Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. Technically agnostic but leaning towards theism.
  4. Exactly 50 per cent. Completely impartial agnostic.
  5. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. Technically agnostic but leaning towards atheism.
  6. Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist.
  7. Strong atheist. 'I know there is no God.'

Few strong atheists?

Dawkins indicates that there are large numbers of theists in category 1, but virtually no atheists in category 7 (including himself). Dawkins doesn't cite any data supporting his claims. However, since 2003, I have been running an "Atheism Test," which allows me to determine the number of strong atheists who take the test. On average, over 400 atheists take the test each month (total sample size is nearly 40,000). Contrary to Dawkins' claim, the percent who are strong atheists averages 50%, and has never been lower than 30%. These percentages are actually under-estimates of the percentage of strong atheists, since some who visit the test page may never take the test or fail the first question ("Are you an honest atheist?"). It is possible that only strong atheists are attracted to my site, although this seems rather unlikely. It is also possible that half of all atheists are liars. My nine year study indicates that a large percentage of atheists are actually strong atheists.

Burden of proof

Dawkins ends his section on agnosticism discussing the probability of the existence of God and the burden of proof. He uses Bertrand Russell's parable of the celestial teapot example, along with the tooth fairy, Mother Goose, Flying Spaghetti Monster, invisible unicorn, Zeus, Apollo, Amon Ra, Mithras, Baal, Thor, Wotan, the Golden Calf. While Dawkins admits that God's existence is not disprovable, he claims that His existence is extremely improbable.

NOMA

Non-overlapping magisterial (NOMA) is the idea that science cannot comment in the issue of God's existence. According to Stephen J. Gould, "The net, or magisterium, of science covers the empirical realm: what is the universe made of (fact) and why does it work this way (theory). The magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value. These two magisteria do not overlap..." Cosmologist Martin Rees says, "The pre-eminent mystery is why anything exists at all." Both Gould and Rees defer such questions to philosophers and theologians. However, Dawkins says "that if indeed they lie beyond science, they most certainly lie beyond the province of theologians as well." In order to complete his insult to theologians, Dawkins says, "I have yet to see any good reason to suppose that theology... is a subject at all."

Dawkins does say that theological assertions are scientific questions, in theory if not in practice. He also claims that "a universe with a supernaturally intelligent creator is a very different kind of universe from one without," although he doesn't speculate what those differences might be. However, we can say that if the universe were an average universe created by chance it would contain only some thermal radiation (i.e., no significant amount of matter).9 So, I agree with Dawkins that a universe created by an intelligent agent looks much different from one that is created by random physical mechanisms. However, I am sure Dawkins wasn't referring to the physical makeup of the universe when he made such a statement.

Dawkins blames the NOMA concept on theologians, although he fails to cite any who actually claim that theology and science do not overlap. Obviously, his only two examples are secular scientists Gould and Rees. Dawkins then goes off on miracles and how the Roman Catholic Church creates new saints. Dawkins seems really perturbed that God might occasionally suspend the laws of physics for His own purposes. Obviously, a god who is powerful enough to create the universe just might have enough power to suspend its rules.

The Great Prayer Experiment

Dawkins next discusses the "great prayer experiment" of 2006. Instead of giving the background as to why the experiment was done, he spent a page in satire. Two previous double-blind studies10, 11 had shown that intercessory prayer had significantly improved the health of patients admitted to coronary units of hospitals. A third study was funded by the Templeton Foundation to confirm or refute the results of the other two studies.

The design of the latest prayer study12 was somewhat unusual. The researchers used three patient groups. Two groups were advised of the study, but were not told whether they were in the prayer group or placebo group. The third group knew that they were being prayed for. The study was performed at six hospitals. Out of 3295 eligible patients, 1493 (45%) refused to participate, which is very high, although they did not explain the reasons for non-participation. The intercessors were composed of three groups. Two were Roman Catholic and one was a Protestant group (Silent Unity, Lee’s Summit, MO). Unlike in previous studies, the intercessors were not allowed to pray their own prayers. The prayers were given to them by the study coordinators to "standardize" the prayers. The discussion section of the paper suggested that at least some of the intercessors were dissatisfied with the canned nature of the prayers. In attempting to standardize prayer, I believe the study introduced a serious flaw, since most intercessors tend to pray as they are led by the Spirit, instead of praying prepared scripts. Jesus told His followers not to pray repetitiously, since God would not hear those kinds of prayers.13

Ultimately, the results showed that groups 1 (prayer) and 2 (no prayer) were identical, whereas group 3 (those who knew they were being prayed for) did worse than the other two groups. The lack of efficacy of intercessory prayer in this study could be due to theological problems associated with the study design.

Dawkins spends a page criticizing the woeful comments of theologian Richard Swinburne. Dawkins is correct in criticizing Swinburne's comments. In fact, they don't represent biblical theological doctrines. However, Dawkins presents them as representing such.

Dawkins fails to cite prayer studies that showed a positive result, instead reporting only on the one that showed a negative result. In fact, a new meta-analysis, which takes into account the entire body of empirical research on intercessory prayer (17 major studies), shows that according to American Psychological Association Division 12 criteria, intercessory prayer is classified as an experimental intervention that, overall, shows a small, but significant, positive effect.14

The Neville Chamberlain school of evolutionists

Dawkins next goes on a long rant against certain atheists (Michael Ruse, in particular) who propose that theists sympathetic to macroevolutionary theory not be criticized. Of course Richard Dawkins thinks that all theists should be criticized at all times, since to do otherwise would result in becoming like Neville Chamberlain, who ignored the threat of the Germans by ceding over entire countries to them. During this discussion, Dawkins lumps all creationists together. However, in reality, there are creationists who dismiss much of science (mostly young earth creationists) and others who accept virtually all science. In fact, old earth creationists believe that creation theology can be tested against other theological and naturalistic models. Examples can be found in Creation As Science: A Testable Model Approach to End the Creation/evolution Wars, Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man and Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off.

Little green men

Dawkins finishes chapter 2 with a discussion of the possibility of extraterrestrial life. He maintains that we must remain agnostic on this issue, since there are many points of ignorance regarding values that can be assigned to the Drake equation. Although it is true that many of the values cannot be determined with much certainty, the results are coming in - and they don't support Dawkins assertion that the "principle of mediocrity" applies to our solar system/planet. Dawkins briefly mentions the anthropic principle, but dismisses it by saying, "if our solar system really were the only one in the universe, this is precisely where we, as beings who think about such matters, would have to be living." Dawkins doesn't seem to understand that declaring our existence on this planet as the reason why our planet is special is a logical fallacy (converse accident).

Dawkins describes the possible existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life as being "superhuman" as opposed to "supernatural," and speculates that if we detect any other advanced civilization that is must be vastly superior to ours (especially if their telltale signal has been traveling through space for thousands of years (which seems likely at this point, since there are not candidate solar systems close to us). He says that if those beings appeared to us, they would seem to possess magic and would "god-like." Dawkins even accepts the possibility that our existence is just part of a computer simulation and says that "I cannot think how to disprove it." Dawkins ends the chapter saying that all intelligences are the product of a form of Darwinian evolution. This assertion, Dawkins proclaims, means that no gods can precede the evolution of natural life forms. The assertion and responses to it will be covered in chapter 4.

Conclusion Top of page

In chapter 2, Richard Dawkins makes numerous assertions, nearly all of which he fails to support with either logic or data. Examples include the numerous names he gives to God, the claim that Paul founded Christianity, the claim that Christianity is the bloodiest religion ever, the claim that there are few strong atheists, and the claim that the founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves because religious people hold political office in the United States - all of which are shown to be false. As in chapter 1, Dawkins is caught quoting out-of-context, when the original intent of the author was exactly opposite of what he reported. I'm not sure how he thought he would get away with this kind of despicable lying. Dawkins' most egregious example of failing to supports his claims is the assertion that intelligences (including God) must be evolved. Dawkins doesn't seem to apply his claim to the universe itself, which displays considerable evidence that it is anything but average. In fact, an average universe would consist solely of thermal energy, and no matter at all. It is clear that Richard Dawkins dislikes the God of Christianity primarily because of His desire for moral accountability from people. Dawkins doesn't want to be morally accountable, and finds a God who demands such accountability to be evil, instead preferring the non-intervening god of deism. I agree with Dawkins that the NOMA concept is wrong - that the question of God's existence can be addressed by the sciences. Obviously, we view the probability of God's existence quite differently.

<< Previous Debunking Dawkins: The God Delusion Chapter 1: A deeply religious non believer

Next >> Debunking Dawkins: The God Delusion Chapter 3: Arguments For God's Existence

Debunking Dawkins: The God Delusion

Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10



Related Resources Top of page

The Irrational Atheist by Vox Day          The Dawkins Delusion          What's So Great About Christianity          The Ipod Tutor: The Argument Against Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion


References Top of page

  1. "You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:31)
  2. Behold, heaven and the highest heavens cannot contain Thee... (1 Kings 8:27)
    The Almighty is beyond our reach. (Job 37:23)
  3. "So many gods have passed into oblivion, and yet the sky-god of Abraham demands fresh sacrifices... as to concern himself with what consenting adults do for pleasure in the privacy of their bedrooms." (Day 1 Sam Harris: Why Are Atheists So Angry?, jewcy.com)
  4. Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:1-5)
  5. Letter to Thomas Jefferson, April 19, 1817.
  6. Letter to F.A. Van Der Kemp, December 27, 1816.
  7. Because experience witnesseth that eccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. Enquire of the Teachers of Christianity for the ages in which it appeared in its greatest lustre; those of every sect, point to the ages prior to its incorporation with Civil policy. Propose a restoration of this primitive State in which its Teachers depended on the voluntary rewards of their flocks, many of them predict its downfall. On which Side ought their testimony to have greatest weight, when for or when against their interest?
  8. James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785.
  9. Cosmologist L. Dyson indicates, "The vast majority of the space consists of states which are macroscopically "dead de Sitter;" that is, nearly empty de Sitter containing only some thermal radiation. A tiny subset of the states are anthropically acceptable, meaning that they contain complex structures such as stars and galaxies, and a very small subset of those are macroscopically indistinguishable from our universe..." See Extreme Fine Tuning - Dark Energy or the Cosmological Constant for more information.
  10. Byrd, R.C. 1988. Positive Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer in a Coronary Care Unit Population. Southern Medical Journal 81: 826-829. [online paper]
  11. Harris, W.S., Gowda, M., Kolb, J.W., Strychacz, C.P., Vacek, J.L., Jones, P.G., Forker, A., O’Keefe, J.H., and McCallister, B.D. 1999. A Randomized, Controlled Trial of the Effects of Remote, Intercessory Prayer on Outcomes in Patients Admitted to the Coronary Care Unit. Arch Intern Med. 159:2273-2278. [PDF version]
  12. Benson H, Dusek JA, Sherwood JB, Lam P, Bethea CF, Carpenter W, Levitsky S, Hill PC, Clem DW Jr, Jain MK, Drumel D, Kopecky SL, Mueller PS, Marek D, Rollins S, Hibberd PL. 2006. 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. Am. Heart J. 151:934-942.
  13. "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. (Matthew 6:7)
  14. Hodge, D.R. 2007. A Systematic Review of the Empirical Literature on Intercessory Prayer. Research on Social Work Practice 17: 174-187.

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