Letter: Healing experiment hasn't a prayer

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The Independent Online
Sir: Three groups of patients are to be prayed for, or not, to "test" the healing power of prayer (report, 11 April).

A positive result will be hailed by theists as evidence that God exists, whilst a negative result will merely indicate to them that God did not wish to co-operate. The initial hypothesis is thus not susceptible to refutation. This farrago is not an experiment worthy of the name, and Professor Russell Stannard's standing as a scientist is seriously compromised. Have faith, by all means, but do not confuse it with science.

T P O'CONNOR

Department of Archaeological Sciences,

University of Bradford

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