The Instigator
TheUser
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Lordgrae
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Faith Can Help To Heal Sickness

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Lordgrae
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/31/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,799 times Debate No: 43177
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (17)
Votes (2)

 

TheUser

Pro

I believe faith can help heal disease.

Round One for Acceptance
Two is for Arguments
Three is for Rebuttals
Four is for Conclusion
Lordgrae

Con

I accept this debate. As con, I shall debate that faith cannot cure diseases.

If my opponent agrees, I would like to state that he must show that faith cures better then the placebo affect. Otherwise, shared Burden of Proof.
Debate Round No. 1
TheUser

Pro

Very well. If I must show that faith cures better than placebos, then I'd be happy to.

First off, I would like to define placebo.

Placebo- Is a stimulated or ineffectual treatment for a disease or medical conditions that is intended to deceive patients.(1)

Notice how it says that it is used to deceive patients. How does the placebo have an effect on the patients? Exactly, the patients believe it can heal them! That is faith they have that the doctors are telling the truth. That shows placebos are actually a thing of faith.

Faith Healing is the belief that diseases can be treated by praying.(2) Now, maybe you don't believe that prayer is not effective.

I will use this as an example.

Jesus healed many people by faith. Why was that? The people were faithful that their illnesses and sickness disappeared, that is why!

I will now argue that faith healing works.

There is ample proof that prayer works. Many scientific studies have been conducted that validate this observation. An Israeli survey following 10,000 civil servants for 26 years found that Orthodox Jews were less likely to die of cardiovascular problems than "nonbelievers." And a study from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., monitoring 250 people after open-heart surgery concluded that those who had religious connections and social support were 12 times less likely to die than those who had none.

In an attempt to understand the depression that often accompanies hospitalization, Duke University researchers assessed 1,000 hospital patients; patients who drew on religious practices, including prayer, were found to cope far better than those who didn't.

Certainly, following a spiritual or religious lifestyle might lead to better health; the devout may be less likely to succumb to the hazards of smoking, drinking, and sleeping around. However, for the non-believers, it is hard to understand how intercessory or non-local prayer works. This is the situation when the sick persons are prayed for and don't even know it.

In the most widely publicized studies of the effect of intercessory prayer, cardiologist Randolph Byrd studied 393 patients admitted to the coronary-care unit at San Francisco General Hospital. Some were prayed for by home-prayer groups, others were not. All the men and women got medical care. In this randomized, double-blind study, neither the doctors and nurses nor the patients knew who would be the object of prayer.

The results were dramatic and surprised many scientists.The men and women whose medical care was supplemented with prayer needed fewer drugs and spent less time on ventilators. They also fared better overall than their counterparts who received medical care but nothing more. The prayed-for patients were: Significantly less likely to require antibiotics (3 patients versus 16) Significantly less likely to develop pulmonary edema-a condition in which the lungs fill with fluid because the heart cannot pump properly (6 versus 18). Significantly less likely to require insertion of a tube into the throat to assist breathing (0 versus 12). Less likely to die.

Even more incredible experiments in distance healing involve nonhuman subjects. In a survey of 131 controlled experiments on spiritual healing, it was found that prayed-for rye grass grew taller; prayed-for yeast resisted the toxic effects of cyanide; prayed-for test-tube bacteria grew faster. "I adore these experiments," says Larry Dossey(3),M.D., perhaps the world's most vocal expert on prayer and medicine. "Because they don't involve humans, you can run them with fanatical precision and you can run them hundreds of times. It's the best evidence of all that prayer can change the world. And it operates as strongly on the other side of the Earth as it does at the bedside."

Gl and I wish to hear from my opponent.

(1)http://www.merriam-webster.com...
(2)http://www.merriam-webster.com...
(3) http://www.dosseydossey.com...
Lordgrae

Con

Since in the first round, it was defined that we were not allowed to add rebuttals, I will make new arguments for my position.

I will show that praying, or using faith to heal someone else does not work.

In 2006, there was a study conducted to answer the question of whether or not prayer helped. He looked at over 1800 coronary bypass surgeries. This was a controlled experiment. Groups 1 and 2 was told they may or may not be receiving prayers, but only groups 1 was really receiving them. Group 3 was told they were receiving prayers, and were receiving prayers. Groups 1 and groups 2 died at 51% and 52% respectively. This is not significant enough to draw conclusions in either direction, as the groups is not large enough to escape such a minor margin of error. 59% of those in group 3, who knew they were being prayed for, died. [1]

Many explanations for the increase in death experienced by the groups who knew they were being prayed for have been speculated. Richard Dawkins, the author of the god delusion, states that ""It seems more probable that those patients who knew they were being prayed for suffered additional stress in consequence: 'performance anxiety', " [2]. A person involved intimately with the expiriment offered a similar conclusion; "It may have made them uncertain, wondering am I so sick they had to call in their prayer team?".
I personally feel that it is more likely that there is a more significant margin of error, and the 8% difference between those that were told they might be receiving prayer and did and those receiving prayer is not significant enough across 1800 people to draw the conclusion that one of these three methods makes a true impact on your chance of surviving. What it does show at the very least, is that prayer did not help these people. The group that did best received prayer, but were told they might be receiving prayer, and did not do much better then those told they might be receiving, but did not.
It is quite possible that Dawkins and the other researcher are correct, and the nocebo [3] effect was in play. The nocebo effect refers to a harmless, or not beneficial treatment, wherein the patients suffers negative effects due to the belief that it is harmful. It is quite plausable that the nocebo effect played some role in the varied effects of the study.

There is a reason why people use placebos in expirements. Often times, as I shall demonstrate below, people get significant health benefits, simply because they believe they are getting health benefits. To test the effectiveness of a new treatment, doctors test the treatment against the belief that you were given a real treatment.
It is generally agreed by all, that psychological conditioning plays a significant role in ones recuperation. However, the psychological patterns that faith gives to a patient that may benefit them, can be eisily repeated by other circumstances. "Because the placebo effect is based upon expectations and conditioning, the effect disappears if the patient is told that their expectations are unrealistic, or that the placebo intervention is ineffective." [4] Since strong belief is slowly fading in the modern world, and atheism and agnosticism is on the rise (19.7% are unafilliated and steadily rising. Of them 5.5% of the percentage are Atheist and agnostic and rising), the faith placebo is becomming less and less effective over an increasing number of patients. Rather, other psychological factors can be of much importance to the psychology of a patient. Confident doctors and nurses, as well as showing that a doctor is experienced, and a lack of general worry surrounding the operation can be shown to have positive effects on the patient, regardless of whether the doctor is truly more experienced or skilled.

[1] Benson H, Dusek JA, Sherwood JB, et al. (April 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".
[2] The God Delusion by C. Richard Dawkins
[3] Kennedy (1961), p.204
[4] Montgomery GH, Kirsch I (1997). "Classical conditioning and the placebo effect".
[5] CIA American Religious Statistics. Last update to publicly accessible data unknown.
Debate Round No. 2
TheUser

Pro

I will now begin my rebuttals

"In 2006, there was a study conducted to answer the question of whether or not prayer helped. He looked at over 1800 coronary bypass surgeries. This was a controlled experiment. Groups 1 and 2 was told they may or may not be receiving prayers, but only groups 1 was really receiving them. Group 3 was told they were receiving prayers, and were receiving prayers. Groups 1 and groups 2 died at 51% and 52% respectively. This is not significant enough to draw conclusions in either direction, as the groups is not large enough to escape such a minor margin of error. 59% of those in group 3, who knew they were being prayed for, died. "

If you look at this argument you see that it does not specify what this man's beliefs are. What if he just prayed without having the needed faith? The thing is, the person praying also needs to trust that the person he or she is praying for would be healed. It does not specify if they even believed that they were being prayed for. Neither does it specify the ones prayed for's beliefs.(1)

"It is quite possible that Dawkins and the other researcher are correct, and the nocebo effect was in play. The nocebo effect refers to a harmless, or not beneficial treatment, wherein the patients suffers negative effects due to the belief that it is harmful. It is quite plausable that the nocebo effect played some role in the varied effects of the study."

My opponent makes a mistake because he shows faith does work even when they believe something hurts them.

"There is a reason why people use placebos in expirements. Often times, as I shall demonstrate below, people get significant health benefits, simply because they believe they are getting health benefits. To test the effectiveness of a new treatment, doctors test the treatment against the belief that you were given a real treatment."

Wow, that was not a good thing done on the doctors' behalf. It was not right of them to take away an effect that worked. Basically, they took away the faith of the patients. This goes to show, faith works.(2)

The Bible demonstrates faith healing. That is your ultimate proof.

(1) http://www.bible.ca...
(2)http://www.magicalmiracles.com...
Lordgrae

Con

First of all, you're dosseydossey link seems to be somewhat disreputable, and unreliable for unbiased medical information.

"If you look at this argument you see that it does not specify what this man's beliefs are. What if he just prayed without having the needed faith? The thing is, the person praying also needs to trust that the person he or she is praying for would be healed. It does not specify if they even believed that they were being prayed for. Neither does it specify the ones prayed for's beliefs."

They asked local churches to pray for them. Based on the location (US) it seems likely that the vast majority were Christian, as this makes up 78% of the population [1] plus the many who are spiritual, but not part of any religion.

"My opponent makes a mistake because he shows faith does work even when they believe something hurts them."

The topic is that faith can help to cure sickness, not whether it can kill a person.

"Wow, that was not a good thing done on the doctors' behalf. It was not right of them to take away an effect that worked. Basically, they took away the faith of the patients. This goes to show, faith works.(2)"

It is not faith in the divine sense. We are debating that faith in a higher power can help to heal, not that faith in medicine heals. And they were not 'taking away' anything. I do not understand what you mean.

"The Bible demonstrates faith healing. That is your ultimate proof."

The bible is untestable, and unproven. This is a terrible source and heavily biased.

In short, you have failed to prove that faith is better then placebos, and I have shown a reliable study where faith was detrimental to the patients recovery, and no other correlations were shown. We cannot draw conclusions on anything, and to all accounts by reliable doctors, and neuroscientists who did the experiment I talked about and several others, the brain controls a lot of symptoms and can fight the illness. This is not faith that kills the illness, it is the brain. The brain is a powerful thing, and giving someone a sugar pill is just as useful as telling someone to pray about it, and sometimes praying on it causes a negative reaction to the stimulant, causing more complications and death.

[1] Gallup polls, CIA religious statistics and Pew Review all agree to this number, or one or two points off.
Debate Round No. 3
TheUser

Pro

My opponent told me to prove that faith heals better than placebos and I did prove it. See my first argument. I stated that it is one and the same as faith healing. Shouldn't my opponent have proven otherwise? Instead, his argument shows that placebos do not work.

In conclusion, faith healing works, is the same as placebos, and it is effective.

Gl Pro
Lordgrae

Con

LordGrae r1 :"I would like to state that he must show that faith cures better then the placebo affect."
TheUser r2 : " If I must show that faith cures better than placebos, then I'd be happy to."

It was agreed upon that he must show that faith is not just a placebo, but works better, and I must show that it is merely a placebo, or perhaps a negative. I showed a fairly reputable study that shows how faith shows little correlation, and the little correlation it does show can be considered part of the nocebo effect, and not affirming that faith can truly cure.

My opponent has given the example of the bible. We never agreed to accept the bible as truth, and it is an unreliable source for this topic. If he had looked at my profile, he would have known that it would be foolish to even attempt to use it as a source. Regardless of your beliefs, dear potential voter, you must admit that since we never agreed on accepting it as truth, he cannot do so.

He mentions Orthodox Jews, which cannot be compared to the general population because they have very different practices that can have a physical, and not faith related effect on their health. (Rules about eating, smoking, drinking etc.) It also does not specify the percentage difference between these groups.

Another study mentioned was only of 250 people, a poor sample size.

Since depression is not really a normal 'disease' we cannot treat it as such. And any significant difference can be seen by the community aid and family support that people of faith tend to have more of, because they are less likely to be ostracized from the community and their family.

In short, all the studies were either unreliable, discussed diseases that can be attributed to physical, and not spiritual causes, and missed providing percentages, which are the only things that really matter when looking at data.

In conclusion, he failed to successfully refute my studies, and made this sentence, which seems to make absolutely no sense in the context of the situation.

TheUser r3 " that was not a good thing done on the doctors' behalf. It was not right of them to take away an effect that worked. Basically, they took away the faith of the patients. "

Please vote for me. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by FluffyCactus 3 years ago
FluffyCactus
I thought both were unconvincing. Besides, in one of my Psychology courses in university we established that prayer and faith in a loving God had positive effects overall, on recuperating etc. As did people from the church praying for you. Of course, the correlation only worked when the patient was aware of their congregations prayers. This is because of particular psychological stressors being relieved. At least, this is what I remember... It was a few years ago. All in all. I'm undecided.
Posted by wateva232 3 years ago
wateva232
Voting points:
1. Agree before debate: I actually thought that prayers could have a little positive effect on patients health.
2. Agree after debate: Con proved that I was wrong and prayers could actually worsen the case.
3. Conduct: Tied for sure. Both had good conduct.
4. S&G: Tie, both had good spelling and grammar.
5. Convincing arguments: Con had more convincing arguments as explained in previous comment. Con met his Burden of proof, while Pro failed to do so.
6. Sources: This is where Pro lost mainly. He provided extraordinary claims and did not provide references except from Bible.ca and a biography for a writer. While Con provided credible sources for every argument he presented, whether the survey or the nocebo effect.

Good debate, short and decisive. I would like to thank both for a good debate and wish Pro better luck next time.
Posted by wateva232 3 years ago
wateva232
The resolution for this debate was "Faith can help heal sickness". Pro in round 2 accepted the BoP that Faith is better than placebo effect and had to prove it. While Con, had the BoP that "Faith cannot help heal sickness" and it can cause a worsening effect than placebo.

Con wins this debate, because Pro had the BoP that faith works better than placebos and failed to provide any evidence supporting it and used non credible sources that cannot be accepted as scientific references. Con, on the other hand, showed using a credible source that faith could cause a nocebo effect and might cause more harm than benefit thus fulfilling his BoP and resolving the resolution that "Faith cannot help to heal sickness" but might actually make it worse.

Pro first survey had no reference and also is inconclusive because the 12 patients who got better had both social care and prayers. Thus it is inconclusive, because they could've gotten better with only social care and thus no need for prayers. The survey doesn't prove that prayers caused it in anyway. The other survey has no reference and it has an extraordinary claim and one has no reason to accept it as scientific fact. The link Pro provided is a biography of a man called Dossey, which does nothing to prove the extraordinary claim of the survey.

Con however, used one single survey that met his BoP with a large sample size. The survey showed that prayer did not aid in healing but the group that were prayed for actually died. Thus it might cause a nocebo or a negative effect rather than positive. The survey was easily found and a credible source.

Lastly, Pro's argument stems from his religious belief and the bible, which was not accepted as a credible source in the first place. It was not agreed to in the first place and it is not a scientific reference.

Continued....
Posted by Lordgrae 3 years ago
Lordgrae
Note that the Orthodox Jewish community is a highly isolated community with a very isolated gene pool and very different use of substances and rules. You cannot compare them to the rest of the world. If you compared them to first generation of people who had left the orthodox jewish community, this would make sense. I will post later tonight, I am sorry for the delay. My f*cking English teacher assigned a big project over break, and I procrastinated.
Posted by Juan_Pablo 3 years ago
Juan_Pablo
One of the largest independent studies on prayer showed that it was not effective in reducing complications following heart surgery, and that those received prayer as group fared worse . . .

http://web.med.harvard.edu...

More surprising is that some groups that advocate faith healing twisted the results of the study . . .

http://www.patheos.com...

Prayer might work in some instances but in many instances it clearly does not. This means that prayer and faith alone should not be used in place of medicine and standard medical treatment. This approach is dangerous.
Posted by TheUser 3 years ago
TheUser
I Challenged you.
Posted by Lordgrae 3 years ago
Lordgrae
I still am experiencing errors after clicking on accept.
Posted by Lordgrae 3 years ago
Lordgrae
I would have accepted, but I do not match the criteria.
Posted by TheUser 3 years ago
TheUser
Try accepting now.
Posted by mistersilver 3 years ago
mistersilver
Apparently, I don't match your age or rank criteria.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Juan_Pablo 3 years ago
Juan_Pablo
TheUserLordgraeTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro presented Larry Dossey M.D. as an expert on prayer and medicine, using a single source in citing him; however, Con discredited the resolution by citing one of the largest studies ever conducted on prayer and medicine, showing that faith healing does not work and can actually even hurt the recipient patient. Pro's other source on faith healing was simply a webpage that asserted that it does. This is not a credible source. Con wins this debate.
Vote Placed by wateva232 3 years ago
wateva232
TheUserLordgraeTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.