MPs want proof that God doesn’t heal. I suppose they willingly forego modern medicine…?

Hapless MPs send daft letter to wrong people in attempt to defend faith healers – guardian.co.uk.

A cross-party group of MPs have attempted to bully the Advertising Standards Authority over their ruling against faith healers; attacking the suggestion that people who make health claims should be required to provide evidence for them.

As reported by Total Politics, “Three Christian MPs – Gary Streeter (Con), Gavin Shuker (Lab) and Tim Farron (Lib Dem) – are trying to overturn an advertising ban on claiming that ‘God can heal’.” Inspired by the case of Fabrice Muamba they “say that they want the Advertising Standards Authority to produce ‘indisputable scientific evidence’ to say that prayer does not work – otherwise they will raise the issue in Parliament.”

Tip: @SLSingh on Twitter

The original story is here from Doubtful News: U.K. group banned from advertising public medical claims about the healing power of prayer

This is an editorial, so the language gets dicey but here are some important points:

Advertising Standards Agency are, pound-for-pound, one of the best public institutions ever created when it comes to dealing with scientific evidence. Just a quick scan of their past adjudications shows the dizzying array of evidence-based issues they’ve had to rule on, from bogus cosmetic claims to alternative medicine. MPs should be publicly supporting them for the work they do protecting consumers, not putting political pressure on them to alter their code of practice.

Bearing all that in mind, let’s look at the letter the three MPs wrote:

“We are writing on behalf of the all-party Christians in Parliament group in Westminster and your ruling that the Healing On The Streets ministry in Bath are no longer able to claim, in their advertising, that God can heal people from medical conditions.”

The editorial outlines numerous ridiculous notions from the Christians in Parliament gropu who wish to rely exclusively on the Bible (in lieu of modern medicine entirely? I wonder). And, they put up stories and pleas about sports stars to bolster their case. It’s quite ludicrous.

The main problem is, those promoting faith healing are proposing a supernatural claim. THEY are proposing this claim. Science has shown, quite handily, that it is a false one. To stand up and say that the rational people must prove God DOESN’T heal is so ludicrous, it made me laugh. I think they should give up all access to modern medical care cause otherwise, they are very hypocritical. Go on, pray your ills away. See how that works for you.

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  3 comments for “MPs want proof that God doesn’t heal. I suppose they willingly forego modern medicine…?

  1. Verklagekasper
    March 27, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    If God was like a service machine that is fed with prayers and grants wishes in return, the atrocities and miseries of the world would not have happend. Science doesn’t make statements on theological matters. That naive “prayer works” view is so ill-conceived that it isn’t even shared by theologians.

  2. Massachusetts
    March 29, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Though there is the view that the body’s natural, innate healing mechanisms can be triggered by meditative practices, including but not limited to prayer. Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School researched this phenomenon over the course of his career and published his findings in “The Relaxation Response” and other publications. I realize that his views are still controversial and I don’t claim they are true or false. But that would a logical explanation for why faith healing practices might work in the absence of a “vending machine” style God or super natural force at play.

  3. Massachusetts
    March 29, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    Of course, defining “work” in this situation is tricky. I’ve read that inflammation and the side-effects of inflammation, may be particularly susceptible to this kind of approach. So affects would likely be palliative. As for big claims like healing brain tumors and such, that is a whole other matter and probably unlikely to say the least.

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