Atheists Advise Wishing
GODFORSAKEN, Nevada (FNS) According to a study commissioned by the Atheist Social Society (ASS), wishing may be the best way to help you get what you want. In a study funded by the society and carried out by Professor Cy N. Testa at Southeast North Dakota State Teachers Junior College, a group of wishers seemed to have a slight advantage over a group of prayers and a control group.
In the first part of the study, a group of Christians were put in a room with a clearly visible clock on the wall at precisely 12 noon. They were asked to pray for 3:00 PM. Simultaneously, a group of people who described themselves as agnostic were seated in a separate identical room with an identical clock. The second group was instructed to wish that it were 3:00 PM. A control group of mixed beliefs (and lack thereof) were settled in a third room with an identical clock at the same time. They were not told anything about time and were asked to amuse themselves by conversing or playing cards, which were provided. The clocks were not interconnected. Careful observation and precise measurements by the experimenters revealed absolutely no statistical difference among them. All three clocks reached 3:00 PM at the exact same moment.
In a second study group members were asked to seek happiness. The prayer group was told to pray for happiness, the wishing group to wish for the same, while the control group members were simply told to pass time while conversing and/or playing cards. At the end of a precisely measured 2 hours, members were asked to rate their degree of happiness on a 10 point scale, 1 being how you feel when you’ve just gotten a traffic citation, 5 like how you feel when you hit a $10 scratch-off and 10 being the feeling you get when that hottie tells you you’re the best lover ever. Members of the control group scored an average of 5.3 on the happiness scale, the prayer group 7.1 and the wishing group 8.5. Experimenters viewed this as strong evidence that wishing is superior to praying in the attainment of goals, e.g., happiness.
In a third experiment, patients who had been told they had a terminal disease were separated into the same three groups. The prayer group patients were told to pray for health, the second group to wish for it, and the control group to get their affairs in order. Death occurred at the same rate for all three groups, the only difference being that those that got their affairs in order seemed more a peace with the situation, as did their heirs.
ASS spokesman R. U. Kidden promises that there is more research to come and that no conclusions are final. “We want to look at all possibilities. With what we know right now, wishing seems the best way to win the lottery, cure disease and return lost pets. But we’re going to examine hoping next, to see what that can do. You never know,” he cautions.
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