The Null Device
You've probably read about the scientific studies proving that praying or being prayed for is beneficial to one's health. According to skeptic Michael Shermer, these studies are deeply flawed, suffering from faults such as failure to eliminate other factors (such as socioeconomic status, lifestyle differences, and people in poor health being less likely to attend church). There's also the small matter of one of the authors of one study being a fraudster. (via FmH)
Psychoceramic site of the day: Molatar, the dragon, "dedicated to spreading the Gospel in the werewolf and furry communities". As well as the usual stuff about homosexuality being wrong and evolution having been debunked, it has an essay on why he abhors role-playing games (and it has little to do with Jack Chick-esque theology, but more to do with role-players being cruel and unimaginative), and a promise that God can help the faithful shapeshift, if that's what they desire (even giving a prayer for doing so, as well as advice to get a good vet and tailor, and stock up on dog toothpaste and medieval swords). And check out his "Were card", where he talks about his likes and dislikes, speculates on whether Duran Duran were werewolves and describes his "berserker states". (via gjw)
A study in the Netherlands has found that the air in churches is a health hazard. Due to poor ventilation and the use of candles and incense, church air has 12 to 20 times the European allowed average concentration of carcinogenic particles. The study also found various types of free radicals in the air, including previously undocumented ones.
It'd be interesting to see whether cancer rates among frequent churchgoers are above the average, and if not, whether that is attributable to much-vaunted psychosomatic effects of religious faith (or, for the red-staters out there, the Almighty's miraculous protection of His flock).