Letter: Prayer without God

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Sir: Andrew Brown's review of Russell Stannard's The God Experiment (Monday Book, 15 November) overlooks an obvious comment. If the human targets of prayer really do benefit and "God" is simply a term for this effect, then "God" is a product of human activity. And if Stannard interposes a deity who hears and responds to the prayers then he violates the economy of hypotheses with an extra assumption for which no evidence is offered.

Will he now assemble a control group of atheists who will merely concentrate kind thoughts on the same targets and see whether they can get the same results?