I found some articles today in "Psychology today":

Are you superstitious?

I mean it's Friday 13th, isn't it? ;-)

The authors entertain the idea that prayer might be effective because it raises our belief level even when the belief in a supernatural power itself is false.

What is your take on that?

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They're detailing a self-supporting argument, Oliver. Nothing new to see here...

oh gosh the SuperStupid even in this day and age, if your gonna have a bad day it will happen any day...people believe the strangest thingS

The article on magical thinking is very interesting, about the magical thinking that is ingrained in human nature and even atheists engage in.

It's hard for most people to disencumber themselves of Stuff.  That involves magical thinking. 

I think everyone here is aware that prayer is nothing but a placebo.

I agree.

I remember at school, Brother Leary asking us all to say a private prayer when Elvis Presley died.

That's pretty funny, isn't it ?

Prayer has the opportunity to raise personal awareness of a situation, but that's about it.  The person praying typically thinks they're helping the situation BY PRAYING, and that by itself is sufficient.  Now, some others may donate a unit of blood or give to the United Way, or in other words, Do Something EFFECTIVE, but my suspicion is that those are the exceptions to the rule.

Raised personal awareness of a situation, that's exactly it. Of course, it can be done by anything based on mindfulness and it certainly doesn't involve a supernatural power. Some go running or do some gardening.

A thousand pairs of hands folded in prayer doesn't have the effect  that 1 pair of hands actually doing something..

AKA, the placebo effect.

What a bunch of maroons.  I never have been superstitious, except for what was ingrained into me connected with religion.  Since I rejected religion, I've been fee to accept only what can be proven.

I don't know why anyone would want to raise their belief level.  Ultra maroons.

This article details the ways in which everyone thinks magically.

I'm pleased to note that most of the assertions in that article and others like it, don't apply to me.  I never think magically.  There are a couple of things mentioned that apply to me, but I don't see how they can be called magical thinking.

For example, I don't see how it's magical thinking to not throw darts at a baby's picture.  I would be reticent to do it, for several reasons.  One is that I wouldn't want anyone to see me and think me a mean son-of-a-gun.  Another is that I think it reasonable to assume that acting mean, even when it harms no one, has a slight negative affect on a person's empathy.  

Finally, I would do it if I saw some logical reason to.  

It's possible that I do engage in some magical thinking, but if anything or anyone makes me aware that I do, I'll work on getting rid of it.  




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