The Templeton study isn’t exactly definitive proof that God doesn’t exist. So I wouldn’t get excited on that account. Also a possible explanation is depression, but there is also another explanation presented by researchers. Patients were randomly assigned to these groups. The group that was informed of the prayer intercession was not told this was a research study simply that a group of people were coming to pray for them. So anxiety could have been associated with the hospital “having people come pray for them.” Obviously if the hospital is having people come pray for them the patient is going to interpret this as something bad with their condition. So the study itself could have induced complications.
First of all, as has already been said, you can't prove a negative. Period. Example: the Unicorn Dilemma.
Unicorns don't exist. How do I know? I don't know. I can't prove that they don't. Maybe they do, in a parallel universe, or on some planet that has evolved but is currently beyond our reach. I can't prove that they don't exist, and therefore according to the Church of the Chocolate Unicorn, they must.
I can't prove that God doesn't
exist, and therefore he must. See, that's the problem, you can't prove a negative, because you would have to have knowledge of all things, everywhere, and that is simply not possible, unless you believe that there is a being that can do that. And now it's just getting silly, because you have to believe in a being that knows everything, in order to know everything that is out there, in order to prove, or disprove, the existence of the being that knows and does everything. In short, one must be
God in order to disprove
Occam's Razor tells us that God doesn't exist. The most likely explanation is usually the simplest. An all powerful, all knowing, all loving, all alling being, or whatever other things you attribute to God is hardly simple, it's so complex that religious leaders tell us frequently that we cannot possibly comprehend god., And the dogma that we have on the nature of God has changed so much over the past few thousand years that it's impossible to read through everything in the Vatican (for example) in one lifetime. And on top of that, even though the dogma/literature has changed, God has always been 'perfect', which is contradictory in itself. And it also points out the dilemma of "the bible is the perfect word of God" vs. "the bible contradicts itself frequently." If it is the perfect word of God, then how is it imperfect (contradictory)? And if it is the work of men, doing what God told them to do, then how do we know that Joseph Smith didn't have that same command? Or Muhammed? How does one discern 'God'? And now we are back to the need to be God in order to identify God.
But I digress....
It is, however, far more likely that the universe and it's parts have a set of natural laws, and have come about through some explainable phenomenon. And just because we can't explain it yet doesn't mean that we won't ever be able to. It's a work in progress.
And to say that it's the hospital's fault, and not the idea of prayer's fault, is special pleading. The study was designed to see if prayer was a factor in recovery. It doesn't MATTER who initiated the prayer. It doesn't matter who asked for it. The outcome is going to be the same either way. Whether or not the prayer was initiated by a family member, the hospital, a doctor, whatever, it doesn't matter who initiates it, it's scarey to know that other people are scared enough for you that they have begun praying.
And this in NO WAY is an argument against God, please don't think that I'm saying this study disproves God. It was never meant to be a disproof of God. The study was supposed to be an argument for God that failed, nothing more. A bunch of doctors and researchers wanted to see if prayer stood up as a healing factor in a scientific study, and it didn't, it actually made people more fearful. The people who designed the study in the first place thought it had a chance of proving that prayer was useful as a factor in healing. I'm guessing that they designed the experiment in a way as to be as fair as possible.
No offense, but your argument that it might be some thing else, depression, or the hospital bringing in religious people to pray, well, it seems like denial to me.
Edit: Also, Props to Vanity Evolved for the mention of Chocolate Unicorns... and anyone else who thought of that concept. I now worship chocolate unicorns.