When I first picked up the article by Harris et al,1 I read with open-minded interest: Would such prayer have any effect on the course of illness of the subjects studied? If so, or even if not, how could it hurt? Even for the agnostic, when critically ill, wouldn't most be of the opinion that anything that might help is worth trying, particularly if there is no harm done in the trying?
Julie Goldstein. Waiving Informed Consent for Research on Spiritual Matters?. Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(12):1870–1871. doi: