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.


Gandolf said...

Yes pretty sick society alright .

But you forgot to add things like how sick it is with all the priests that have been molesting children etc , and also how sick it is that the religious vote those in who send folks to war and kill more innocent familys including children than they do any terrorists .Or how many children commit suicide through having problems with judgementle religious familys .

But we dont expect fair judgement from the religious .

SueW said...

It truly amazes me, the anger that atheists show toward religionists. It's almost that they are afraid we ARE right and they are wrong (which may be a valid fear). Your comment about priests is not only irrelevant - it's ignorant. Less than ONE PERCENT of priests have BEEN ACCUSED of improper actions towards youth and of that small percentage, only a very small percentage have been CONVICTED. Compare to 10 percent of the Protestant ministers (who are not as annoying to the press because many don't disagree with abortion loudly as the Catholics do). But statistically most children are molested by step parents and/or trusted members of the family - uncles etc (75 percent according to govt statistics). Interesting that you are not MORE upset about that than about the less than 1 percent of priests thus accused and convicted. hmmm.... Furthermore the statement that more women and children are killed in war is ignorant and NOT based on history but based (probably on movies from Michael Moore and books have been written pointing out the errors and lies in his movies but of course there are always some um...challenged who never question anything they WANT to believe). As for kids committing suicide, again, you are wrong about it being "judgement from religious families". Statistically most suicides come from NON religious families. Religion gives kids hope and that's more than the worldly noise ATHEISTS offer gives them. Back when I was a kid when MOST families went to church, suicides among kids were almost unheard of - what about that, buddy? 3900 Americans have died in the war in Iraq. 48 MILLION Americans have died in abortion. Fair judgment for atheists? Let's put it this way...

****Christians killed 5 million people in 2000 years.

Atheists killed 165 million people in the 80 years between 1917 and 1997

Who is more dangerous?****

Mitch Pacqua SJ