04 January 2007

50th Skeptics' Circle - in memory of Carl Sagan

Yay! Skeptics' Circle number 50!!

And this one is dedicated to the memory of Carl Sagan, the closest person to a "patron saint" of skepticism. Except for maybe Harry Houdini.

Humbug! Online has done a fantastic job with this one.

Sagan died ten years ago, but his memory lives on through his excellent work.

(And I must make a mental note here to remember to buy Cosmos on DVD.)

Anyway, it's taken me a little while but I've finally read it and there is, as always, tonnes of reading for everyone.

The one that caught my attention this time round was Orac's excellent post on the infiltration of religion into medicine.

This scared the poo out of me. Orac has blogged in the past about the infiltration of alternative medicine into medicine and this is really the next logical (sadly) step.

I sometimes think that organised religion steals all its ideas from the alternative medicine industry, and it appears that medicine is copping it from all sides here.

Anyway, read those. They're great.

The rest are here.

Enjoy.

6 comments:

beepbeepitsme said...

A positive attitude may help in recovery. Perhaps the medical profession is showing an interest in the psychological states of their patients is a good thing.

But neither prayer, nor chanting mantras while covered with peanut butter, show a positive result with recovery.

What a patient poitive attitude may do is make the patient a partner in their recovery, to the extent that they may be more condusive to taking steps which speed rcovery, such as exercise, diet etc.

Dikkii said...

A positive attitude may help in recovery. Perhaps the medical profession is showing an interest in the psychological states of their patients is a good thing.

I'm not sure that the medical profession ever didn't show an interest in the psychological state of their patients.

What a patient poitive attitude may do is make the patient a partner in their recovery, to the extent that they may be more condusive to taking steps which speed rcovery, such as exercise, diet etc.

Yeah, but you'd understand this, Beep. No one is ever going to run a study comparing the benefits of prayer to the benefits of exercise or diet, are they?

They'd be on a hiding to nothing.

As always, thanks for dropping by.

ted said...

study comparing the benefits of prayer to the benefits of exercise or diet

Well Dikkii, I've been making notes while mum's been crook. Most important so far:

1. Openly discussing the situation (what's wrong, what can be done, what we want to do, how bad it is, implications, etc) with the patient.

2. Diet. Leonardo discovered that patients are more likely to eat if you feed them the diet they're used to. If they don't eat, they won't recover.

3. Excercise, excersise, excersise and lots of positive reinforcement.

That said, I think you both make excellent points about patient attitude, but from what I've seen with my mum, religion doesn't help at all.

I reckon she spends as much time wondering why God isn't helping as she does praying for help. You can see the frustration, which omly compounds the situation. Hence my "God, you bastard!" post a while back...

Now that the infection has all but gone and the pain has subsided to managable levels, the praying's all but stopped and her attitude toward rehab (standing and walking) has improved markedly. Consequently, she's visibly improving every day now...

Dikkii said...

Ted wrote:

I reckon she spends as much time wondering why God isn't helping as she does praying for help. You can see the frustration, which omly compounds the situation. Hence my "God, you bastard!" post a while back...

This is where your average fundamentalist Christian gets all judgemental and says, 'If she's wondering why God isn't helping, then she's not showing enough faith!'

Let's put this another way - if you doubt for a moment that God will help out, God gets spiteful and says, 'Nup. Not doing it.'

Now that the infection has all but gone and the pain has subsided to managable levels, the praying's all but stopped and her attitude toward rehab (standing and walking) has improved markedly. Consequently, she's visibly improving every day now...

I once argued (with the assistance of my then housemate, Brendan) that God might really be the bad guy and Satan the good guy. Gotta say the above doesn't really do much to help God's case.

ted said...

then she's not showing enough faith!

Agreed, but I didn't really explain it well. There was no lack of faith, she knew God would have a reason. If she could just work it out, then she'd have fixed it and been ok.

Dikkii said...

There was no lack of faith, she knew God would have a reason.

She's at least not making ridiculous demands on God then, like some believers do.

I didn't really explain very well where I was coming from with that comment of mine.

The concept of faith appears to be fluid to some observers, and a yes/no thing to others. And it's usually fundies who take the absolutes approach. Just the slightest display of unhappiness/dissatisfaction/doubt will usually convince someone who thinks of faith in absolute terms that the world's strongest believer didn't have any faith.

At all.

Mind you, the whole "faith" thing is so totally screwed up, I just don't know where to begin.