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James van der Walt

Social Entrepreneur, Ugesi Gold

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Does religion cause the placebo effect?

I'm not an atheist. I choose not to be. I have a believe system that guides me and gives me strength. Is the strength real or part of the divine? Who knows. I can however say that it's made an impact on my life purely because I believe in it. Does my conviction give me power? I believe it does.

The placebo effect is well documented and researched. It is very real even though it's only in your head. I wish to propose that it is belief that makes the benefits real. A woman believes that God will cure her so she has a higher change of getting better just because she believes it will.

Blind believe is one of the things that separate us from most animals. We can believe something without proof and let it guide our entire life. We should use this human quality to our advantage. Made that's the power behind positive thinking too?


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    Mar 27 2013: Fundamentalism practices does provide a lot for optimism biases to develop. But, a placebo effect is something which an individual is conscious of, and is knowingly accepting. While religion regards something primal (subconscious) and unconscious, and stimulates a lot of metaphysical desires we have as humans. It's a bit shallow to say religious knowledge is based on a placebo effect, because whether they are really 'knowledgeable' about various positions and ideologies of God in general, will affect her own thinking positive thinking. How strong is the thought of God to her? Will demonstrate whether or not the placebo is the primary cause for motivation to get better. Perhaps, to the individual, God is found within family or community more often than a deity, because the thought of God would be attached to the emotions her friends/family give her.

    Not as simple as what you are proposing, but it is a good jump off point.
    • Mar 27 2013: you define placebo effect wrong, placebo effect is a result of medical testing of drugs, where people who where sick (in some way) where given sugar pills without them knowing it is not actual drugs. These people then started seeing improvements. So the placebo effect is totally in the unconcious part of the brain.
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        Mar 28 2013: "But, a placebo effect is something which an individual is conscious of, and is knowingly accepting."

        They accepted the sugar pills believing they were more. It is not strictly unconscious, they had to be aware of the fact this pill may do something.

        Its just as much conscious as unconscious.
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          Mar 28 2013: You choose to accept God, correct? There for it must be conscious. You choose to believe that your faith will help you in life. Maybe god exist, maybe not. Just like the sugar pill you will get the benefits regardless.

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