Regardless of what reporters publish in their employers’ pages, it’s not been scientifically demonstrated that prayer by third parties has any effect on one’s ability to conceive a child (or recover from illness, succeed in a war, or anything else, for that matter).
Look! An American criminal was one of the authors of the study! What am I not surprised? I do find it saddening that Columbia University was dumb enough to let it be publicized, and that the general press establishment didn’t attack it once enough time had passed for the embarassment to be minimal.
It seems religious nuts are out to hijack science, even. Willing to use fraud and violate laws governing scientific ethics in order to do so. How very sad.
And given the amount of academic corruption I’ve seen and heard of (it exists in North America too, but it seems much more excessive here), I’m hardly surprised that a physician from Seoul’s Yonsei University was involved in the study. In fact, I would imagine he was heavily involved in at least some of the set-up, since the subjects in question in the study (the people prayed for) were South Korean. I’d also attribute the failure to inform subjects of their being prayed for (and thus ignoring established guidelines of ethics in scientific experimentation) to him, since of the members of the study team he’d be the likeliest to be able to communicate the details of the studies to the doctors involved in Korea, or even directly to the patients via email or other means.
I can’t wax too harsh, though; since I think praying for someone has no effect except on the person who does the praying (and, except where it leads to self-righteousness or a kind of self-congratulatory arrogance, it’s probably good for those doing the praying as it can awaken compassion and awareness of others), I can hardly say the subjects were harmed by the ignorance. But on the other hand, it’s a troubling thing to see a violation just the same. I wonder if Dr. Cha would be willing to commit other violations. On those grounds alone, he and his co-conspirators ought to be dragged through the mud of the press, if for nothing than to establish that you don’t lie to the press about your scientific discoveries.
Yes, ruin their careers, destroy them financially: that’s what the stakes should be for lying in science and ignoring experimental ethics. Period. And while you’re at it, Press Corps, why don’t you report that the study was utter crap and was only published because of the religious inclinations of a few dolts who decided to look the other way on things like scientific method and evidence.
Meanwhile, religious people ought to speak out against these liars. I don’t think you really honestly want crooked bastards like this on your side. They’ll hurt you more than they help, in the long run, tainting you by association.