Joined: April 2005
well, i see it all the time.
good science can still be done with "bad" funding.
unless your funding organization entirely depends on private donations (don't we know an organization like that...;) ), then your credibility weighs in on how much funding you get, even as a foundation (foundations often rely on grants from other foundations).
Credibility in funding organizations is often influenced by the value articles published by scientists they fund have to the scientific community in general; that is, one, is it good science, and two, is it interesting.
so, yeah, even the Templeton foundation wants to encourage the folks they fund to do rigorous science; it helps them get more funding, and avoid critcism.
Not to say that there aren't foundations that don't give a sh*t about anything but their private agendas, but typically those don't last long unless, as i said, they have a continuous source of private funding coming from somewhere (oohhh, like Howie Ahmanson, say).
One could say that money is the great equalizer; it's required by both the religious and non-religious alike, and if you are a foundation funding research, your credibility is everything.
|If the 7ish% difference is really down to negative effects of prayer it would need to be repeated with the same results to sway me.|
interestingly, a friend related a story to me today about a time when his mother was in the hospital for surgery. Seems one of her friends (who was very religious) called her pastor and asked him to go to the hospital and pray for her friend (my friends mother). Well, seems my friends mother is not only not-relgious, she abhors it (one wonders why her friend did not know this?). So, when the pastor came to her, she told him in no uncertain terms he was not needed. However, he refused to leave, saying that it would be better if he stayed and prayed for her. Turns out this upset my friends mother so much they had to cancel the surgery and postpone it to a later day.
moral of the story is, it seems possible that the 7% increase in complications could be explained by objection to being prayed for, and the resultant stress. It's even possible that participants did not wish to express outward negativity towards being prayed for, for a variety of reasons.
I'd like to see the full discussion in the paper, but the review article suggests the authors did not address this implication.
Now THAT'S where a legitimate bias could have come in. the design is rigorous enough, but one could easily leave out potentially controversial (even if obvious) implications in the discussion section without getting too dinged for it.