I’m shocked.

Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found.

And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested.

Not by the results, as reported in the New York Times, but by the fact that anyone actually bothered. I’m not going to dredge up Francis Galton’s study. I am going to wonder what else one might have done with at least $4.7 million.

The study cost $2.4 million, and most of the money came from the John Templeton Foundation, which supports research into spirituality. The government has spent more than $2.3 million on prayer research since 2000.

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