What the hell is wrong with people?
Dr. Wendy Walsh says
“…it doesn’t mean that science has the answers for everything… Most studies on survivors show that atheists die first. Because if you don’t believe in something super-natural, how can you imagine that you yourself have supernatural abilities enough to survive?”
Batshit crazy. So, science doesn’t have the answers, but lets use scientific studies to justify super powers…?
I have nothing but respect for my fellow religious Soldiers. It is clear that religion would play no part in a foxhole firefight. Both atheist and religious soldiers would immediately react according to the extensive training that we receive in the military.
However, if we are to follow the premise through in a way that implies religion has a role in surviving in a foxhole:
Atheist shoots back.
Theist prays and gets us all killed.
See how stupid this is? Of course religion has nothing to do with survivability.
Dr. Walsh is an entertainment psychologist who ‘believes in belief’. Walsh’s website claims, “Her brand of psycho-education is intended to be both entertaining and informative.” Despite the best of intentions, her words are dull and they may even make you dumber.
She has dealt with this subject before on her blog. Specifically, last Christmas when she cobbled together some meaningless drivel and recycled meta-physical garbage, meshed with a thin layer of ‘science’.
Put on your thinking caps. It’s time to explore.
In India, doctors scratch their heads as babies born to strict Muslim families in poverty have higher survival rates than upper caste Hindus with less religion. And disaster stories abound of atheists who succumbed to death while those with faith calmly waited for divine intervention, or at least a rescue boat.
Muslims are ‘more religious’ than upper caste Hindus…? Correct me if I’m wrong but ‘upper caste’ Hindus are the holiest, they are the priests. Even if I am wrong about that particular point, comparing the religiosity of one religion to another is moot. Especially in light of the pantheism she endorses at the conclusion of this article. (How can you be a ‘strict’ pantheist?)
Also, clicking on that link she provides brings you to a recent paper on the subject. The abstract has this to say:
The results of this study contribute to a recent literature that debates the importance of socioeconomic status (SES) in determining health and survival.
Basically, it’s about education, literacy, per-capita income, etc. Religion and culture clearly play a part in shaping these variables. However, it is quite a leap to claim that the validity of religion has anything to do with these factors.
Let’s keep reading.
Apparently, if you do not believe in the supernatural, you can’t imagine your own supernatural abilities. You can’t become a superhero if you don’t believe in them.
That scientific evidence alone is enough for me to sign up.
This sounds like ‘The Secret’ nonsense self-help meta-physics. You know, the type you might hear about around the empty water cooler at a sweat lodge.
Another study out of Dartmouth medical school showed that people recovering from open heart surgery were three times more likely to survive if they had religious faith.
The 1995 NY Times article that she links to there specifically points out the flaws in this line of reasoning:
“Of the 232 patients in the study, 21 died in the six months after surgery… “ (An extremely small sample)
“The findings have not all been positive. Last year, a British study of 300 patients admitted to a hospital for a variety of acute illnesses concluded that those who professed the strongest religious beliefs fared less well clinically after six months.
Quite apart from whether people found strength in their faith, Dr. Oxman found that their health also benefited if they participated regularly in social groups, whether a church supper group, seniors club or fraternal group. Cardiac patients who were not involved with such groups were three times as likely to die in the six months after surgery as those who were.”
“It appears there is something life protective in belonging to a group and having a regular social activity, of any kind,” he said.
The only positive outcomes were noted by psychologists, not the doctors who do surgery or treat acute illness in hospitals.
I’ll spare you her paragraphs about a taxi ride spent pondering these things. Here’s the ‘good’ part:
He (or she, or it) is certainly here under our Christmas tree today, just as he, or she, or it appears at Ramadan and Hanukkah. Fueled by human connections called love, God is the life-force that will sustain us in good times and horror. It’s the superhero in all of us.
The ending makes me think that she is just phoning in an article for a Christmas deadline. I’m very much reminded of an old Norm Macdonald quip: “Kenny G released his Christmas album this week: ‘Happy birthday, Jesus.. hope you like crap!’”
***Update 10:15 AM 28 March 2011***
scratchresistor 3 points 56 minutes ago
I fucking love the look on the guy’s face at the end.