Prayer and Pregnancy; Shooting UFO Photos

Skeptic (Altadena, CA), Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

Prayer and Pregnancy; Shooting UFO Photos


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Prayer and Pregnancy

WE HAVE WELCOME NEWS FROM Dr. Bruce L. Flamm, M.D., who for the last eight years has been battling the ridiculous report that prayers intoned for infertility patients in Korea could result in a 100% increase in pregnancy rates among the subjects. We've followed this for some time now (search Swift at www.randi.org for Flamm). Now, the Los Angeles Superior Court has finally thrown out the major defamation lawsuit that Korean fertility specialist Kwang Yul Cha filed against Dr. Flamm, a California physician who had published several articles questioning the validity of the report. That lawsuit, first filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in August 2007, was thrown out last November but then reinstated in January. Now it's finally dismissed.

In 2001, a study was published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine which claimed that prayers from the USA, Canada, and Australia produced a 100% pregnancy rate in the subjects of those prayers--an incredible claim, indeed. Kwang Cha and his associates were widely reported in the news media, including on the ABC news program Good Morning America, whose staff should have known better than to perpetuate this nonsense. The following year, the study's credibility was undermined when one of the co-authors, Daniel Wirth, was arrested by the FBI and later pled guilty to fraud. Cha's other co-author, Columbia University's Rogerio Lobo, later revealed that he had not participated in the research and he withdrew his name from the published findings. As Dr. Flamm says:

   [This] ruling is a victory for science and
   freedom of speech. Scientists must be
   allowed to question bizarre claims and
   correct errors. Cha's mysterious study
   was designed and allegedly conducted
   by a man who turned out to be a
   criminal with a 20-year history of
   fraud; a criminal who steals the identifies
   of dead children to obtain bank
   loans and passports is not a trustworthy
   source of research data. Cha could
   have simply admitted this obvious fact,
   but instead he hired Beverly Hills
   lawyers to punish me for voicing my
   opinions.

We're struck by the fact that the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, which capriciously published the original report and then dug in its heels and refused to react to the very obvious fact that this was a spurious, quack, non-scientific action--refused to withdraw the article! …

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