The Results Are In

Hello! Remember 2 weeks ago I did Another Prayer Experiment?

If you recall:

  • I prayed to the Abrahamic god for Butch to have his job situation improve (a promotion that was promised over a year ago to come through but didn't)1

  • I prayed to my computer, Einstein for my friend Jeff to sell an item for exactly $850 that he had purchased in a box lot for $5.  2

  • I also "prayed" (or had a talk with) myself to encourage myself to get off the weight loss plateau I had been on for about a week, to lose another pound.

The time frame was 13 days from when I prayed till May 1st. I didn't want it to be open ended because then there's no control in the experiment and it's too easy to post hoc rationalize some kind of false result, which I think is very common with prayers.

Drum roll, please!

  • Butch didn't get his promotion. There was absolutely nothing that improved at his work, in fact his job satisfaction is still really low.

  • Jeff didn't sell anything for $850. He didn't sell anything even marginally close to this amount.

  • I lost a pound! In fact I lost 1.5 pounds!3

So, prayer to the Abrahamic god is just as effective as prayer to my computer at ZERO percent. Meaning completely INeffective. Although I would say in future studies both would be as good as chance.

But having a heart to heart with yourself and then taking action is, according to these results, quite effective! In fact, with this preliminary study, it was 100% effective. Of course, this was really a pilot study, so if you want to run the experiment yourself we can pool the data and come to better conclusions.

  1. The chances of this promotion happening without something drastically changing were basically nil. I didn't tell Butch what I was doing in advance.

  2. The chances of Jeff selling an item for exactly $850 that he had bought in a box lot were extremely slim, but not impossible. I didn't tell him the prayer in advance.

  3. The chances of me increasing my exercise, reducing my caloric intake, and getting off the plateau I was on were fair, but not guaranteed by any means. I had a really hard time losing the pound! Full Disclosure: Unfortunately, I went to a potluck on Sunday, May 1st. I woke up Monday morning, after the experiment was over, 2 lbs heavier. Sigh!


  1. Lol. Brilliant.. as always :)

  2. Looks like praying to you works. Would you be my god?

  3. Abso-freaking-lutely, Mike! Please sacrifice cash to me to the following PO Box... small unmarked bills. After a sufficient (and arbitrary) number of sacrifices have been made, I will be happy to answer a random number of prayers. :P

  4. Do you accept sacrificial goats? ;-)

    Technical Nitpickiness (intended in-fun): #3 would be better if you were "blinded" to the prayer. That is, Butch and Jeff presumably didn't know you were praying for them, and therefore that should not influence their actions. You did know #3, and may have adjusted you behavior accordingly.
    If you pray for another person to lose weight and don't tell them, that would be OK (except you have to persuade them to tell you).

    Maybe have a 4th person that gets no prayer at all as a control.

  5. Bah! Just like every other deity. Always grubbing for money. I've lost my faith again.

  6. Ha! Sorry to disappoint. I'm a COD: Coin Operated Deity. :P

  7. How about Rai Stones?

  8. Thanks Tomato. I know my experiment wasn't perfect. But it was a pilot study, which can be a bit less stringent. I do agree that having a 4th person with no prayer at all would have been really good.

    Of course, I would also like to add that the "prayer" to myself was to make a very important point. It wasn't prayer, it was self talk. Which by its very nature is impossible to blind. I wanted to see if I talked to myself and followed that "talk" up with action if I could produce tangible results. And I did!

    By the way, I had another talk with myself after my over-indulgence on Sunday and proceeded to exercise a bit more and watch my calories a bit more, and today I am back down to where I was. So I did it Twice! It just goes to show what thoughtfulness followed by action can do. :)

  9. Rai Stones? Never heard of them, what are they? Are they valuable?

  10. Oh, you asked if I'd accept sacrificial goats. Are they alive or dead?
    If they're alive, I live in town and it's against the law for me to have farm animals, so no. I can't take them as sacrifices.
    If they're dead, then I guess I'd have to be like Yahweh and start to love the smell of burning goat flesh. If it smells like burning cow, then yes! I'll take it! :P

  11. They are a sort of stone "coin" traditionally used on some Micronesian islands. They are inconveniently large! and you did say "coin operated", :-)

  12. "prayer" was a poor choice of words - what I get for being in a hurry.

    > "So I did it Twice! It just goes to show what thoughtfulness followed by action can do."

    Now that sounds like a successful experiment!

  13. :D :D :D I think it was! :D :D :D

  14. HA! You aren't kidding, they are Huge! No, I can't take Rai Stones. I can't buy myself presents with them so they're no good to me. :P

  15. "Coin Operated Deity" LOL! Did you make that up? It deserves to be a meme.

  16. I DID make that up! HA! I made a meme! :P