Friday, September 12, 2008

Then and now....

Someone on one my health groups posted an article by an alternet writer named James Levine. I guess it was considered health because it was talking mental health. The long article ranted against both the entire field of psychology as well as religionists and although it admitted we were not a healthy generation, offered no alternate means of treatment for the adjustment problems we are seeing in today's society.

Somehow the article struck a bad chord in me. Maybe it's the hot weather or the inane media election hype... or maybe I've just had my fill of ranting athestic articles which attempt (very poorly, I may add) to rip up all religion but offer no better alternative.

I ended up writing a somewhat passionate response to the article which is as follows:

A couple of comments:

1. The author's main premise is that all psychology is no better than a placebo at treating mental illness. I think it's simplistic to discard all psychological treatment as "no better than a placebo" and from my observations, very incorrect. I've had enough dealings in the field to observe that in some areas, although treatment certainly has room for improvement, they have made strides and also do have a certain number of success stories.

2. The author never defines what he means by "mental illness" or "insanity". To lump all mental illness into one pot is not only simplistic but really incorrect and leads me to really question whether the writer of this article is very ignorant or just not aware of modern science. Some of what we call "mental illness" (for example, bi polar, schizophrenia etc) has a large factor which is physical and thus responds well to medications.

3. Finally, Levine comments: "It is my experience that psychiatry, Scientology and fundamentalist religions are turnoffs for genuinely critical thinkers." This is not only ignorant and shows a real bias on the part of the author, it's incorrect. Without trying real hard, I can name many highly intelligent critical thinkers who are members of all religions INCLUDING the much maligned Scientology. And in considering the lack of knowledge obvious, in this article which TOTALLY IGNORS several CLINICAL STUDIES and disses the entire field of psychology, I would NOT include the author in any group of "critical thinkers" Critical, yes. Thinker, not.

Let's just take a look at the RESEARCH

1. Several MEDICAL STUDIES done by scientists (not religionists) have suggested that:

A. People prayed for after surgery tend to have a SIGNIFICANTLY better recuperation rate than those not prayed for (DESPITE the fact that in the several studies I've read, they were double blind i.e. none of the patients in the cohort knew if they were being prayed for or not).

B. Elizabeth Kubler Ross started her long series of research for her book "ON DEATH AND DYING" as an atheist and yet, after observing that down to the man/woman, people who had ANY TYPE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF, dealt with death and illness WAY BETTER than people with NO religious belief, SHE HERSELF changed her atheistic position and became a believer in God.

C. Fulton Sheen, while a Catholic Bishop, has written some of the best researched books which are respected by religionist and non religionist alike... He wrote that when Catholics went to regular confession, almost none of them required any type of counseling.

NOTE: I am not suggesting everyone become a religionist but simply pointing out that people dissing religion with NO basis in fact, observation or research are highly suspect of just being plain ignorant... because there is a body of observational data available which suggests that religion seems to deliver definite benefits to its adherrants, enough data that it should be respected as a valid way of life, at the LEAST.

My own observations. I come from an era where religion was NOT forbidden in the schools and where praying was acceptable in all places. When I was in High School and abstinance before marriage was encouraged, there were a small percentage who were se/xually active but in my senior class of 980, only ONE became pregnant. She married the father, and began a large family. Only a handful were caught smoking dope. You could NOT obtain any type of party drugs on campus and hardly anyone used alcohol - alcohol was CERTAINLY NOT a regular thing at teen parties!

No one in our school committed suicide in the four years I was in high school. STD was pretty unheard of among teens and the most prevailent cause of death among teens was car accidents.

We had a "senior sermon" attended by all the students and presided over by clergyman from Catholic, Protestant and Jewish faiths. Witchcraft and that sort of thing was very looked down upon and abortion was the unthinkable - most girls feeling that killing an unborn baby in their womb was a most horrendous idea.

Compare to now... Suicide has been the most prevailent cause of teen death for several years now (ironically ever since O'Hare went to the supreme court and the court legislated from the bench against the even MENTIONING of God in the schools - never mind that the son she "fought for" became a fundamentalist Christian and had nothing more to do with his angry mother who was eventually murdered by one of her fellow atheists).

Abortion and teen pregnancy are common. STD is in epidemic in the high schools.

Physically, we are the one of the sickest societies in the first world DESPITE the fact we spend more on health care than most other countries. Breast cancer is an epidemic (kills 80,000 women a year) and that happened after the birth control pill, which had been suggested to CAUSE cancer as early as the 1930's with repeated results ON LINE in a Canadian study in 1960. Now 38 worldwide studies have suggested that abortion ALSO greatly raises the risk for breast cancer and one of those studies was a CLINICAL study by pro choice scientist Janet Daling whose results suggested that girls who have abortions before the age of 18 (by some figures 80 percent or higher of abortions) may have a 250 percent greater risk of breast cancer by the age of 40.

And the real epidemic is cancer (of all types) which KILLS (BY CDC STATISTICS) 550,500 people a year, with a close second by smoking (associated with 400,000 deaths) - more young people are smoking NOW than back in the 1960's when the ill health effects were unknown- and yet all we see in the dumbed down media is whining about obesity (by CDC statistics associated and WEAKLY SO) with 27,000 deaths a year.

Gee folks, seems atheism isn't even working to keep us PHYSICALLY healthy let alone MENTALLY healthy. hmmmm..... the facts speak WAY LOUDER than Mr Levine's opinions.

And maybe that's why the working folks (as Barry Obama put it) "bitterly cling to their religion and guns", despite how the media tries to manipulate their minds. In fact, despite the constant whining of media liberals and atheists, it seems that 85 percent of the American public clings to their religion. :)

Sources: (has several references to the 38 worldwide studies which suggest that abortion greatly raises the risk for breast cancer)

Medical research suggests power of prayer (reporting on 2 double blind, clinical studies which suggested that people prayed for experienced medical benefit even if they didn't KNOW they were being prayed for)

Many links on the synthetic estrogen - breast cancer connection (this page has many references to studies)
obesity actually kills less people than guns! an analysis of the CDC correction of the number of obesity deaths from 300,000 to 27,000

BTW, alternet has an interesting bias - on a page entitled sex are stories about "family orgasms" and how abstinance education doesn't work (yeah right... then why did several states push it after doing research on it...but - oh - we won't let a few facts confuse us). I would say it may NOT be a reliable source? maybe? :)

----- Original Message -----
Has American Society Gone Insane?
By Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet
Posted on September 11, 2008, Printed on September 12, 2008 /97934/
For many Americans who gain their information solely from television, all critics of psychiatry are Scientologists, exemplified by Tom Cruise spewing at Matt Lauer, "You don't know the history of psychiatry. ... Matt, you're so glib." The mass media has been highly successful in convincing Americans to associate criticism of psychiatry with anti-drug zealots from the Church of Scientology, the lucrative invention of science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Democrats very scary

I have listened to all the speeches given at the Democratic convention (the main players anyway).

The thing which strikes me is that several of them "speak with forked tongue". For example, Al Gore talked passionately about diminishing our reliance on "fossil fuels" (i.e. oil) however, he owns 3 jet planes! And several cars. He talked emotionally about solar power but despite the fact that he has plenty of bucks to build solar power into HIS palatial homes, he continues to rely (like the rest of us) on electricity.

Joe Biden was one of the more scary speakers for me. He had very recently spoken out about Obama not being qualified and yet his speech at the convention was ripping up both Bush AND McCain and speaking emphatically, like a Baptist preacher that Obama was the man we NEED. Working the audience much as some of the TV evangelists do. Biden has been asked by several bishops to not present himself for Communion in the Catholic church because of his pro abortion stand and yet, he continues to ignore this saying he's "personally pro life" (however has opposed most pro life legislation except the partial birth abortion ban which he apparently voted in favor of). He looks to me like a man who can be bought.

But Obama is the most interesting of all. His promises are extremely vague.... go after Bin Laden in Afganistan with "increased troops" (does that mean the return of the draft?), restore the "American dream" whatever that is. He tries to come on like he's a WORKING man but is nothing of the sort... attended a posh prep school in Hawaii, then Columbia and then, Harvard Law school. "he could have gone to Wall street" several speakers chanted, "but instead choose to help the poor people". Well, sort of. He organized a massive registration effort for Bill Clinton's campaign "earning himself a job in a Civil rights law firm". This suggests that neither Wall Street NOR a local law firm had been an option for him, until he got some name recognition going. After he got to the law firm, although he might have done some pro bono work, I'm sure the money for the majority of his cases, was quite liveable.

He talks about his mother raising two children by herself. Not quite true. According to a couple of sites, his mother who is caucasian and dad who was Kenyan, divorced when he was young and then, his mother married a caucasian Indonesian oil manager and moved the family to Indonesia but apparently Barack was soon returned to Hawaii where he was "mostly raised" by his Grandparents. His mother returned to Hawaii apparently several years later - she and second husband had a girl, Barack's half sister. So it's his grandparents who made the sacrifices but that's less dramatic than his picture of his single mother raising the kids by herself (even though she was likely not poor and definitely, was not single for several years).

Michelle Obama, a dynamic speaker, also tries to relate to the "poor people" but she graduated with a law degree from Harvard also and worked in a law firm where she was asked to mentor an intern. That intern was Barry who was described as "more interested in Michelle than corporate law". Again, it seems that she has had a prestigious career so when she said she lives for her kids, that's doubtful since her last position after being Dean at the U of Chicago was Vice President of Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Certainly the American dream of working one's way up but NOT in the blue collar manner and not the fulltime mother she gave the impression of being in her speech "My girls are the most important thing of my life" she said, "they are the first thought I think about in the morning" (and probably that's the LAST time she thinks about them until she gets home from her career job.

Bottom line- nothing poor about Obamas so would they really be able to relate to the 50 year old unemployed auto worker?

In observing Barack, it seems he was unable to give the stage to anyone else. After Michelle's speech, he burst into the convention on the Tron Screens via satellite and congratulated Michelle on her speech but mostly spoke to the audience.

After Biden's speech, Biden's wife came up and they made a dramatic show of kissing in front of everyone. Then, with a silly grin on her face, she said "we have a surprise guest" Biden didn't get it at first and ignored her so this was something he was not told about beforehand and she said again "we have a surprise guest" . As Biden was looking a bit confused, Obama hops out of the wings and takes over, telling the audience that HIS speech tomorrow would be in the stadium because he wanted EVERYONE who wanted to come, to be able to come.

There are a lot of things they DON'T talk about with Obama like how he PERSONALLY when in the Illinois state Senate, killed a bill which allowed for a baby born alive from a late term abortion to get medical care. "It would weaken Roe V Wade", he explained. NARAL loved it and so did Planned Parenthood to the tune of some rather hefty donations, I'm sure. For the Gore campaign, Planned Parenthood spent 5 million bucks to win over 5 swing states to Gore (and they succeeded). I'm sure they are NOT going to spend LESS on trying to get Obama in.

But think of it. A man who opposes a bill to give a poor infant, born alive after a late term abortion, medical care (effectually causing the murder of that infant) - can this be a person who really cares about ANY humanity (other than himself)? If people think so, they may be badly mistaken.

And on the GOP side, McCain, instead of doing the "politically correct" thing and choosing someone like Romney for his Vice President, he chose a woman who is not only pro life but courageously stands up for her beliefs (and she's already getting cut up in the press). He rose about 50 points in my estimation for that move. Sarah Paline is not only admirable but strong.

It's really getting to be like Armageddon - the evil (lying and misrepresentation and advocating the deaths of 1.5 million infants a year as the Democrat do, IS evil) against the good - McCain whose voting record is totally pro life and Sarah who is the first to run for a major office who bluntly and loudly stands up for her beliefs. Which will the American people choose. I hope they make the right choice.

The only Democrat, by the way, who made an intelligent and civilized speech was Bill Clinton and he rose in my estimation for doing so. He pushed the idea of change but he did NOT speak disrespectfully of Bush OR McCain.