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Main Discussion Zone => General Religious Discussion => Topic started by: holybuckets on May 04, 2013, 01:35:17 AM

Title: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 04, 2013, 01:35:17 AM
Here is an interesting article in the Harvard Review of Psychology.

Dr. Rob Whitley (2010)  explores the possibility of atheism being a mental illness.
Here is part of the abstract:

Specifically, I argue that (1) atheism needs to be accurately measured as an individual-level exposure variable, with the aim of relating that variable to psychiatric outcomes, (2) there needs to be greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution, and (3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood.

In the body of the text, Whitley (2010) explains his concerns with the barbaric and inhumane leadership of atheistic leaders of countries.  This accompanied by irrational comments of leading atheists has led to his conclusion that atheism could very well be a mental illness and the area needs further study.

Whitley, R. (2010). Atheism and mental health. Harvard review of psychiatry, 18(3), 190-194.


Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Graybeard on May 05, 2013, 03:15:55 PM
Dr. Robert A. Whitley
Quote
Louisiana Baptist University's Distinguished Alumni

Robert Whitley
Dr. Whitley holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from LBU. He has written a book called, " You Were Created: How To Find Peace in a Chaotic World ."

Is it that Dr. Robert A. Whitley? Or some other? Do you have a link or a more substantial quote?

In the body of the text, Whitley (2010) explains his concerns with the barbaric and inhumane leadership of atheistic leaders of countries.  [...]Whitley, R. (2010). Atheism and mental health. Harvard review of psychiatry, 18(3), 190-194.

This seems to imply that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive and undemocratic regimes in the world, is perfectly sane. As was the pope when he ordered the torturing to death of thousands of heretics and then burnt them at the stake.

Quote
[wiki]The Massacre at Béziers[/wiki] refers to the slaughter of the inhabitants during the sack of Béziers, an event that took place on July 22, 1209 and represented the first major military action of the Albigensian Crusade.

[...]

About twenty years later Caesarius of Heisterbach relates this story about the massacre,
When they discovered, from the admissions of some of them, that there were Catholics mingled with the heretics they said to the abbot “Sir, what shall we do, for we cannot distinguish between the faithful and the heretics.” The abbot, like the others, was afraid that many, in fear of death, would pretend to be Catholics, and after their departure, would return to their heresy, and is said to have replied “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius - Kill them all for the Lord knoweth them that are His” (2 Tim. ii. 19) and so countless number in that town were slain.

It would also seem to imply, that if Joseph Stalin had simply worshipped the Devil then none of the atrocities would have occurred, and that the leadership of the Taliban are perfectly sane.

Holybuckets, I think we need a little more context on this one.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: The Gawd on May 05, 2013, 03:30:21 PM
well, where's the study?
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Traveler on May 05, 2013, 03:43:48 PM
LOL! And never mind that the more secular countries in the world are the safest and have the least criminal activities and in general are the "best" places to live. Gigantic FAIL, holybuckets. LOL
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: ParkingPlaces on May 05, 2013, 04:13:06 PM
Here is a little on the author (not much, but it looks like he's a Brit). He is not the bible college guy.

http://prc.dartmouth.edu/whitley/ (http://prc.dartmouth.edu/whitley/)

He's a little weak in the causation/correlation department, methinks.

I've no access to the full article, but here is the synopsis...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20415634 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20415634)

Being that all of us were pretty nice during the Boston Marathon, he should concentrate his efforts on other possible causes of such problems.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: jaimehlers on May 05, 2013, 04:15:28 PM
No, it's this Dr. Whitley, I think:  http://prc.dartmouth.edu/whitley/ (http://prc.dartmouth.edu/whitley/)

Here's the link to the article that holybuckets was apparently citing from.

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10673221003747674 (http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10673221003747674)

Here's what the abstract says:

Quote
The exploration of the impact of religiosity on mental health is an enduring, if somewhat quiet, tradition. There has been virtually no exploration, however, of the influence of atheism on mental health. Though not a “religion,” atheism can be an orienting worldview that is often consciously chosen by its adherents, who firmly believe in the “truth” of atheism—a phenomenon known as “positive atheism.” Atheism, especially positive atheism, is currently enjoying something of a renaissance in the Western liberal democracies—a trend often referred to as the “new atheism.” I argue that atheism, especially positive atheism, should be treated as a meaningful sociocultural variable in the study of mental health. I argue that atheism (just like theism) is an appropriate domain of study for social and cultural psychiatrists (and allied social scientists) interested in exploring socio-environmental stressors and buffers relating to mental health. Specifically, I argue that (1) atheism needs to be accurately measured as an individual-level exposure variable, with the aim of relating that variable to psychiatric outcomes, (2) there needs to be greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution, and (3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood.
I think I'm going to have to remain skeptical regarding holybuckets's very scanty summary of the 70kb article.  I strongly suspect that Whitley is arguing that atheism (especially positive atheism) has an effect on mental health, rather than stating that it's a mental illness, as holybuckets claimed.  In short, I'll bet he either used someone else's summary of the article, or just made it up.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Nick on May 05, 2013, 04:23:31 PM
OK, can we claim some kind of disability payment from the gov now?  Man, FOX News will have a wet dream with this info.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Graybeard on May 05, 2013, 04:42:16 PM
No, it's this Dr. Whitley, I think:  http://prc.dartmouth.edu/whitley/ (http://prc.dartmouth.edu/whitley/)

Here he is again http://www.mcgill.ca/tcpsych/faculty/robertwhitley
Quote
He and his colleagues have evaluated many recovery-oriented psychosocial interventions such as supported employment, supportive housing and illness self-management programs. They have shown that cross-cultural communication, discrimination, stigma, religion and family involvement all play a role in influencing mental health service utilization and recovery.

Selected Articles
Whitley, R. (in press) ‘Thank you God’: religion and recovery from dual diagnosis among low-income African Americans. Transcultural Psychiatry.

Whitley, R. (in press). Religious competence as cultural competence: A resource for recovery. Transcultural Psychiatry.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Quesi on May 05, 2013, 05:06:45 PM

Quote
The exploration of the impact of religiosity on mental health is an enduring, if somewhat quiet, tradition. There has been virtually no exploration, however, of the influence of atheism on mental health. Though not a “religion,” atheism can be an orienting worldview that is often consciously chosen by its adherents, who firmly believe in the “truth” of atheism—a phenomenon known as “positive atheism.” Atheism, especially positive atheism, is currently enjoying something of a renaissance in the Western liberal democracies—a trend often referred to as the “new atheism.” I argue that atheism, especially positive atheism, should be treated as a meaningful sociocultural variable in the study of mental health. I argue that atheism (just like theism) is an appropriate domain of study for social and cultural psychiatrists (and allied social scientists) interested in exploring socio-environmental stressors and buffers relating to mental health. Specifically, I argue that (1) atheism needs to be accurately measured as an individual-level exposure variable, with the aim of relating that variable to psychiatric outcomes, (2) there needs to be greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution, and (3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood.

Bold mine. 

Perhaps I'm missing the point here, but based on this abstract, I think the author has a valid point.  Religion is considered a variable in terms of psychiatric treatment and outcomes.  If there is indeed an absence of study on the role that atheism plays in terms of mental health, and perhaps more specifically, to healing, then there does indeed need to be more systematic investigation into the influence of atheism. 

Traditional treatments models for addiction draw heavily on religion, as do treatments for post traumatic stress.  Perhaps other disorders as well.  If mental health professionals draw on these traditional models, then they are in fact doing a disservice to their atheist clients. 
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: magicmiles on May 05, 2013, 05:15:25 PM
I'm sure some atheists are mentally ill. Statistically speaking.

Hell, I have my suspicions about one current contributor to the forum.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 05, 2013, 05:43:56 PM
Dr. Robert A. Whitley
Quote
Louisiana Baptist University's Distinguished Alumni

Robert Whitley
Dr. Whitley holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from LBU. He has written a book called, " You Were Created: How To Find Peace in a Chaotic World ."

Is it that Dr. Robert A. Whitley? Or some other? Do you have a link or a more substantial quote?

In the body of the text, Whitley (2010) explains his concerns with the barbaric and inhumane leadership of atheistic leaders of countries.  [...]Whitley, R. (2010). Atheism and mental health. Harvard review of psychiatry, 18(3), 190-194.

This seems to imply that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive and undemocratic regimes in the world, is perfectly sane. As was the pope when he ordered the torturing to death of thousands of heretics and then burnt them at the stake.

Quote
[wiki]The Massacre at Béziers[/wiki] refers to the slaughter of the inhabitants during the sack of Béziers, an event that took place on July 22, 1209 and represented the first major military action of the Albigensian Crusade.

[...]

About twenty years later Caesarius of Heisterbach relates this story about the massacre,
When they discovered, from the admissions of some of them, that there were Catholics mingled with the heretics they said to the abbot “Sir, what shall we do, for we cannot distinguish between the faithful and the heretics.” The abbot, like the others, was afraid that many, in fear of death, would pretend to be Catholics, and after their departure, would return to their heresy, and is said to have replied “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius - Kill them all for the Lord knoweth them that are His” (2 Tim. ii. 19) and so countless number in that town were slain.

It would also seem to imply, that if Joseph Stalin had simply worshipped the Devil then none of the atrocities would have occurred, and that the leadership of the Taliban are perfectly sane.

Holybuckets, I think we need a little more context on this one.

Here again is the link: Whitley, R. (2010). Atheism and mental health. Harvard review of psychiatry, 18(3), 190-194.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Ambassador Pony on May 05, 2013, 06:03:41 PM
That's not a link. This is the internet.

Here is the LINK (http://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/20415634/Atheism_and_mental_health_) to the full abstract.

And, to this:

Quote
Dr. Rob Whitley (2010)  explores the possibility of atheism being a mental illness

Which component of the abstract gives you that idea?

Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Ambassador Pony on May 05, 2013, 06:08:56 PM
Quote
The exploration of the impact of religiosity on mental health is an enduring, if somewhat quiet, tradition. There has been virtually no exploration, however, of the influence of atheism on mental health. Though not a "religion," atheism can be an orienting worldview that is often consciously chosen by its adherents, who firmly believe in the "truth" of atheism-a phenomenon known as "positive atheism." Atheism, especially positive atheism, is currently enjoying something of a renaissance in the Western liberal democracies-a trend often referred to as the "new atheism." I argue that atheism, especially positive atheism, should be treated as a meaningful sociocultural variable in the study of mental health. I argue that atheism (just like theism) is an appropriate domain of study for social and cultural psychiatrists (and allied social scientists) interested in exploring socio-environmental stressors and buffers relating to mental health. Specifically, I argue that (1) atheism needs to be accurately measured as an individual-level exposure variable, with the aim of relating that variable to psychiatric outcomes, (2) there needs to be greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution, and (3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood. [/b]


None of the bolded indicate he proposes that atheism itself could be a mental illness. It's just another individual-level exposure variable which might have a correlation neg or pos (not yet studied) or effect size (not yet studied) above and beyond the other correlates with mental disease. It's good science, which may lead to a correlation, an effect, or nothing, just like all good science.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Nam on May 05, 2013, 06:45:46 PM
holybuckets...bucket full of nothing. I say this based on the OP.

-Nam
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: anthony_retford on May 05, 2013, 07:49:39 PM
Does the bozo adhere to any religion? Is he stating this to draw attention to his name? Is he insane? Compared to religious nuts we atheists are the most normal people in the world.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Quesi on May 05, 2013, 07:50:34 PM

I clicked on jaimehlers' link, and found this bio:

Dr. Whitley is a social scientist with considerable experience working at the intersection of psychiatry, sociology and anthropology. His work has focused on the mental health and health service experience of marginalized groups, including immigrants, ethno-cultural minorities, the urban poor, and single mothers.

Whitley is particularly interested in the concept of recovery, examining barriers and facilitators to recovery within both health services and the wider socio-cultural environment. He and his colleagues have evaluated many recovery-oriented psychosocial interventions such as supported employment and illness management programs for people with severe mental illness. They have shown that cross-cultural communication, discrimination, stigma, religion and family involvement all play a role in influencing recovery.


I think it is pretty safe to say that this is the author.

He and I work with very similar populations in different capacities, and I have a long history of cross referrals with mental health professionals, especially with immigrants and refugees who are suffering from trauma such as torture, surviving massacres, or witnessing the execution of a loved one. 

I bolded the last sentence, because it is pretty clear there is a consensus in the mental health community that each of the items listed is a factor in recovery.  And religion plays a fairly prominent role in treatment.

Again, if I correctly understand the abstract, it seems that he is concerned that this religion-heavy model is not meeting the needs of atheists seeking treatment for these types of mental disorders.

And I agree.

He seems to be arguing for more study into appropriate methodologies for the treatment of atheists!

Holybuckets?  Can you please explain this segment of your post? 

In the body of the text, Whitley (2010) explains his concerns with the barbaric and inhumane leadership of atheistic leaders of countries.  This accompanied by irrational comments of leading atheists has led to his conclusion that atheism could very well be a mental illness and the area needs further study.

Whitley, R. (2010). Atheism and mental health. Harvard review of psychiatry, 18(3), 190-194.


The formatting seems to indicate that it is a quote.  But I'm pretty sure that it is your own personal commentary.  Am I correct? 

Also, have you actually read this article? 
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: The Gawd on May 05, 2013, 08:15:54 PM
I'm trying to determine what the control group would be... Atheists would be the control, no?
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 05, 2013, 08:21:21 PM
I am so sorry and must apologize. I thought that most of you had advanced degrees and access to professional and scholarly journals. Obviously this is not the case. I am sorry, but you will have to pay a fee to see the article. Unless, of course you are a PhD or have access to such material. Again, my apologies.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: magicmiles on May 05, 2013, 08:22:55 PM
I'm trying to determine what the control group would be...

The writers of "Big Bang Theory"
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 05, 2013, 08:35:40 PM
I'm trying to determine what the control group would be... Atheists would be the control, no?
Thanks for the reply, but atheists were not part of a control group.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: The Gawd on May 05, 2013, 08:37:44 PM
I'm trying to determine what the control group would be...

The writers of "Big Bang Theory"
I was thinking Janet Jackson...  (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/79/Janet_Jackson_-_Control_single_cover.jpg)
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 05, 2013, 08:37:57 PM
I'm trying to determine what the control group would be...

The writers of "Big Bang Theory"
Magic, as much as I chastise the atheists for their posts that are off line or add nothing to the conversation, I am going to have to ask you to do the same.
Thanks
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: magicmiles on May 05, 2013, 08:39:38 PM
Where was that control when she needed it, on stage with Justin Timberlake...
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Nam on May 05, 2013, 08:43:52 PM
You know you liked it.

-Nam
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Ambassador Pony on May 06, 2013, 05:44:57 AM
I am so sorry and must apologize. I thought that most of you had advanced degrees and access to professional and scholarly journals. Obviously this is not the case. I am sorry, but you will have to pay a fee to see the article. Unless, of course you are a PhD or have access to such material. Again, my apologies.

When I saw the "my apologies" I had thought you had understood that you mis-read the abstract. It doesn't say what you think it says, yet, here you are. Continuing. Can you show me how it actually says what you think it says?
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 06, 2013, 08:44:33 AM
Ambassador Pony,

Here is my take:

"Specifically, I argue that (1) atheism needs to be accurately measured as an individual-level exposure variable, with the aim of relating that variable to psychiatric outcomes, (2) there needs to be greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution, and (3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood."

1. Currently, there is no set definition or level of atheism. I believe Dr. Whitley is suggesting the need to categorize the term into sub-groups.
2. In the body of his text, Dr. Whitely explains that there are few studies dealing with atheism and mental health. He suggests further study.
3. Dr. Whitley examines atheistic leader from four countries who brutalized and killed it's own citizens. He is suggesting that further study in relation to atheism/mental health needs to be explored.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Graybeard on May 06, 2013, 09:48:11 AM
You have summarized the paper reasonably and you will see that the headline, "Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!" is typical Fox News deception.

The study has not been done, it has only been suggested. There are no specific questions for the study or any methodology, let alone results.

Holybuckets, there are times when I think that you read things but the words come out differently in your mind.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 06, 2013, 11:53:03 AM
Thanks Greybeard,
I agree, it is a bit Foxish...... But on the other hand, the study seeks to answer the question "are atheists mentally ill?" So, that is not an untrue statement. The study gives evidence of mental illness in the form of starving, imprisoning and murdering it's own citizens by atheistic leaders.
So as much as you dislike the headline, it is factually true.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: jaimehlers on May 06, 2013, 12:24:11 PM
1. Currently, there is no set definition or level of atheism. I believe Dr. Whitley is suggesting the need to categorize the term into sub-groups.
This is a reasonable interpretation of the footnoted section of the abstract.

Quote from: holybuckets
2. In the body of his text, Dr. Whitely explains that there are few studies dealing with atheism and mental health. He suggests further study.
The abstract states, "(2) there needs to be greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution"; your explanation does not jive with it.  Given your access to the article, you should quote relevant parts from the report itself.

Quote from: holybuckets
3. Dr. Whitley examines atheistic leader from four countries who brutalized and killed it's own citizens. He is suggesting that further study in relation to atheism/mental health needs to be explored.
The abstract states, "(3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood", therefore again, your explanation does not jive with it.  Again, given your access to the article, you should quote relevant parts from the report itself.

In short, holybuckets, we're going to need more than just you saying, "hey, this article says that atheism might be a mental illness", especially when you're basing that off of things that aren't stated in the abstract and frankly, don't follow from what is stated there.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 06, 2013, 01:06:53 PM
1. Currently, there is no set definition or level of atheism. I believe Dr. Whitley is suggesting the need to categorize the term into sub-groups.
This is a reasonable interpretation of the footnoted section of the abstract.

Quote from: holybuckets
2. In the body of his text, Dr. Whitely explains that there are few studies dealing with atheism and mental health. He suggests further study.
The abstract states, "(2) there needs to be greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution"; your explanation does not jive with it.  Given your access to the article, you should quote relevant parts from the report itself.

Thanks, I believe I cited the article if you care to look at it.

Quote from: holybuckets
3. Dr. Whitley examines atheistic leader from four countries who brutalized and killed it's own citizens. He is suggesting that further study in relation to atheism/mental health needs to be explored.
The abstract states, "(3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood", therefore again, your explanation does not jive with it.  Again, given your access to the article, you should quote relevant parts from the report itself.

In short, holybuckets, we're going to need more than just you saying, "hey, this article says that atheism might be a mental illness", especially when you're basing that off of things that aren't stated in the abstract and frankly, don't follow from what is stated there.

Here is more of the article for those of you who may not have had access to the original.

"The relation of atheism to mental health can be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially
as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood. The new atheism is building on a substantial intellectual and political tradition that includes the intellectual atheism of Sigmund Freud, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Jean-Paul Sartre, and the like. Their writings can be examined to assess whether there is an “atheistic” perspective on mental illness. Another strand of atheistic thought involves the political atheism that was implemented by Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, Enver Hoxha, and others. Researchers can historically analyze attitudes and policies toward mental health and illness under these officially atheistic regimes for trends and commonalities. In relation to contemporary European and North American societies, the scientific atheism espoused by the likes of Richard Dawkins and James Watson could also be critically examined with regard to its possible implications for psychiatry. For example, the new atheists regularly use psychiatric parlance to describe the belief systems of people of faith (e.g., labeling them as “neurotic” or “delusional”). Indeed, Richard Dawkins has even argued that faith “seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness”27—an argument that has also been repeated by Sam Harris.10 In a similar vein, Dawkins has openly stated that “I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.”28 All of this demands further
systematic investigation of the new atheists’ approach to mental health and illness. It also raises another socio-moral
question that psychiatrists and their public bodies need to confront: given that evidence converges to suggest that religiosity
is good for mental health, does psychiatry have a duty to respond robustly to such statements by atheists?" p. 193
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Jag on May 06, 2013, 01:45:17 PM
The exploration of the impact of religiosity on mental health is an enduring, if somewhat quiet, tradition. There has been virtually no exploration, however, of the influence of atheism on mental health. Though not a “religion,” atheism can be an orienting worldview that is often consciously chosen by its adherents, who firmly believe in the “truth” of atheism—a phenomenon known as “positive atheism.” Atheism, especially positive atheism, is currently enjoying something of a renaissance in the Western liberal democracies—a trend often referred to as the “new atheism.” I argue that atheism, especially positive atheism, should be treated as a meaningful sociocultural variable in the study of mental health. I argue that atheism (just like theism) is an appropriate domain of study for social and cultural psychiatrists (and allied social scientists) interested in exploring socio-environmental stressors and buffers relating to mental health. Specifically, I argue that (1) atheism needs to be accurately measured as an individual-level exposure variable, with the aim of relating that variable to psychiatric outcomes, (2) there needs to be greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution, and (3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood.[ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

This is exactly as the abstract appears in my research database - and I have no intention of paying for the rest of it, in light of what the bolded (by me) section says. hb appears to suffer from poor reading comprehension.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: jaimehlers on May 06, 2013, 02:29:44 PM
Given that psychology and psychiatry are difficult to understand for the average person, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that holybuckets saw the reference to mental health and assumed that it was referring to mental illness.

I maintain that he needs to quote from the actual article itself to support his points, because as several people have shown, the abstract simply does not support the contentious points he's making.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Graybeard on May 06, 2013, 03:21:52 PM
Thanks Greybeard,
I agree, it is a bit Foxish...... But on the other hand, the study seeks to answer the question "are atheists mentally ill?" So, that is not an untrue statement. The study gives evidence of mental illness in the form of starving, imprisoning and murdering it's own citizens by atheistic leaders.
So as much as you dislike the headline, it is factually true.
You will have heard, "You swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Here, the "whole truth" is missing. This is important.

"A Harvard study may think so!" is inaccurate in its lack of "the whole truth". (i) the study has not been done yet, and therefore it should be first amended to "A Harvard study, that may or may not be conducted may think so!" and then "A Harvard study, that may or may not be conducted may show this or not!"

Granted, it is not so snappy, so we would have to reword it, "Proposed study into the mental health of atheists." I think that about covers it.

I remind myself when someone says "A may be B" he also means, "A may not be B". ; )
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: LoriPinkAngel on May 06, 2013, 05:55:49 PM
I'm sure some atheists are mentally ill. Statistically speaking.



I figure if you rounded up 1000 random atheists & 1000 random theists you'd get about the same ratio of nuts:not so nuts in each group.

Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Quesi on May 06, 2013, 06:29:07 PM
Oh Holybuckets, Holybuckets, Holybuckets.

Isn’t there something in your religion about not lying?  

Item number 3 is not part of the article at all, is it now? 

.......
3. Dr. Whitley examines atheistic leader from four countries who brutalized and killed it's own citizens. He is suggesting that further study in relation to atheism/mental health needs to be explored.

So tell us.  Did you make this up yourself?  Or did you plagiarize from someone else who was lying? 
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 06, 2013, 06:40:44 PM
Oh Holybuckets, Holybuckets, Holybuckets.

Isn’t there something in your religion about not lying?  

Item number 3 is not part of the article at all, is it now? 

.......
3. Dr. Whitley examines atheistic leader from four countries who brutalized and killed it's own citizens. He is suggesting that further study in relation to atheism/mental health needs to be explored.

So tell us.  Did you make this up yourself?  Or did you plagiarize from someone else who was lying? 

" Another strand of atheistic thought involves the political atheism that was implemented by Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, Enver Hoxha, and others. Researchers can historically analyze attitudes and policies toward mental health and illness under these officially atheistic regimes for trends and commonalities."

No Quesi, hate to disappoint you and Greybeard, but here it is......
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: kin hell on May 07, 2013, 01:32:48 AM
Ahsoholybuckets you're back.

Still leaking that less than honest puke I see.

Didn't your last abortive troll here teach you anything about truthfulness and accuracy, or do you just not care?
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 07, 2013, 04:23:25 AM
Ahsoholybuckets you're back.

Still leaking that less than honest puke I see.

Didn't your last abortive troll here teach you anything about truthfulness and accuracy, or do you just not care?
Thanks Kin,
Good to see you are still adding intelligent posts to the conversation.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Ambassador Pony on May 07, 2013, 05:26:25 AM
Ambassador Pony,

Here is my take:

"Specifically, I argue that (1) atheism needs to be accurately measured as an individual-level exposure variable, with the aim of relating that variable to psychiatric outcomes, (2) there needs to be greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution, and (3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood."

1. Currently, there is no set definition or level of atheism. I believe Dr. Whitley is suggesting the need to categorize the term into sub-groups.
2. In the body of his text, Dr. Whitely explains that there are few studies dealing with atheism and mental health. He suggests further study.
3. Dr. Whitley examines atheistic leader from four countries who brutalized and killed it's own citizens. He is suggesting that further study in relation to atheism/mental health needs to be explored.

Do you understand the term "individual-level exposure variable", and how it relates to a psychological study?
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Graybeard on May 07, 2013, 06:47:17 AM

" Another strand of atheistic thought involves the political atheism that was implemented by Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, Enver Hoxha, and others. Researchers can historically analyze attitudes and policies toward mental health and illness under these officially atheistic regimes for trends and commonalities."

No Quesi, hate to disappoint you and Greybeard, but here it is......

I have a cherry-picker for sale; it's in good condition, are you interested?

Here's a challenge for you, holybuckets, give me the names of 3 historical people who were obviously Christian and leaders, who behaved in the same way as those you have just quoted.

It's not a hard question.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: jaimehlers on May 07, 2013, 06:57:20 AM
" Another strand of atheistic thought involves the political atheism that was implemented by Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, Enver Hoxha, and others. Researchers can historically analyze attitudes and policies toward mental health and illness under these officially atheistic regimes for trends and commonalities."
First off, this sentence does not justify the position you took.  Note how it says there, "another strand of atheist thought", emphasis mine.  In other words, you're painting with an awfully wide brush there, using only a single sentence as justification for it.

I also want you to cite where in the report/article you got it from, so that if someone else has access, or later gets access, they can check it easily.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Quesi on May 07, 2013, 07:50:07 AM
No Quesi, hate to disappoint you and Greybeard, but here it is......

You know something, Holybucket?  I spent a disproportionate amount of time yesterday learning about your Dr. Whitley because, as I previously stated, he and I both work with similarly marginalized communities in different capacities.  His work builds upon the work of various local specialists with whom I have a cross-referral relationship.  I thought I should be more familiar with his work. 

Dr. Whitley's specialization is promoting the RECOVERY MODEL of treating mental illness among members of marginalized communities.  He literally "wrote the book"[1] on creating a working definition of "recovery." 

You can see him explain the working definition here:

http://youtu.be/fG0qo-yFdwM

As you will see, he defines "recovery" as the display of a range of behaviors which he categorizes as clinical, existential, functional, physical and social.  As someone who believes in incorporating "culturally relevant" treatments, he advocates focusing on the strengths, resources and belief systems of the patients.  And one of the subsets of "existential recovery" that he identifies is spirituality.  Since a lot of people are religious, he draws on THEIR BELIEFS as part of a personalized treatment model. 

He speaks specifically about religiosity as a subset of existential recovery which he deems appropriate for some patients as part of his "dimensional" recovery model.  A little after the 4 1/2 minute mark he says:   

Existential recovery refers to regaining of sense of purpose and meaning, and perhaps spiritual or religious, uh, uh, sense of spirituality or religiosity which people, some people are searching for, and which they might lose if they have a psychotic break, for example.  (bold mine)

Not surprisingly, he is also committed to promoting his RECOVERY Model, and he supports specific governmental policies that shift the field of psychiatry in that direction. 

In order to promote the model that he believes will be successful, he examines models of treating mental illness which he deems as not being successful.  In other work, he bashes the first world institutionalization model which became popular throughout much of the industrialized world.  He also bashes the neo-liberal deinstitutionalization model, which left untreated masses homeless in the streets.  And here, he is bashing a GOVERNMENTAL MODEL towards the mentally ill, which was implemented by small sample of atheist leaders. 

I'm not sure if you can wrap your brain around this, but criticizing a governmental policy towards the mentally ill, is very different from labeling the leaders as mentally ill.   Ironically, I think one could make the argument that some of these leaders did in fact suffer from mental disorders.  But that is not the argument that he is making!!!!!

I know you want to find champions for your cause.  And I am certain that there are in fact folks out there who would support your premise.

But Dr. Whitley is not one of them. 

 1. actually, it was just an article
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Quesi on May 07, 2013, 08:01:06 AM
Oh.  And I know you really want Dr. Whitley to validate your religious beliefs.[1] If you went to him for treatment for a mental illness, he would in fact validate them.  He is really into validating beliefs.  Not imposing beliefs.  Validating beliefs and using belief systems as part of his dimensional treatment approach to mental illness. 

I suspect that if you familiarized yourself with the good doctor's work, you would find it quite disconcerting.  In this article, http://indigenouspsych.org/Interest%20Group/Kirmayer/2012_Recovery_Adeponle.pdf which he co-wrote, you will find a case study starting at the bottom of page 12 (on my viewer, numbered page 120) in which the authors describe a treatment model for a Pentecostal Yoruba woman in Nigeria.  She had had a breakdown after a broken engagement. 

She started out with church members trying to pray away the demons that they believed possessed her.  This was unsuccessful, so she was brought to a psychiatric hospital, and put on anti-psychotic medication.   At the same time, she drew on her traditional Yoruba belief systems, and consulted an Ifa (Yoruba priest) to help her "ascertain the cause of the schism" in her "cosmic harmony."  The Ifa helped put her in touch with her deceased grandmother, and after a great deal of work on assessing the ways in which her deceased grandmother was impacting on her mental health and life goals, the patient made positive signs of recovery.

The author writes "  Although psychiatric treatment and hospitalization played a role in the reduction of her symptoms, the involvement of traditional healing was central to Olayema's recovery." 

And for all of the atheists here who think that is absurd, you might find his explanation of "why" this involvement of traditional healing was central to her recovery. 
 1. And your disdain for atheists
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: jaimehlers on May 07, 2013, 08:26:40 AM
In other words, he probably wants to review treatment methods for atheists who are mentally ill, rather than saying atheism is a mental illness (as holybuckets is apparently trying to claim).

And the explanation of why he would have spent time critiquing leaders such as Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot makes a lot of sense.  It certainly makes more sense than the pretense that those people are representative of atheists that holybuckets was trying to put up.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Quesi on May 07, 2013, 09:08:16 AM
In other words, he probably wants to review treatment methods for atheists who are mentally ill, rather than saying atheism is a mental illness (as holybuckets is apparently trying to claim).


Exactly. 
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: screwtape on May 07, 2013, 09:42:38 AM
You have summarized the paper reasonably and you will see that the headline, "Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!" is typical Fox News deception.

The study has not been done, it has only been suggested. There are no specific questions for the study or any methodology, let alone results.

It's also not a harvard study.  The guy teaches at Dartmouth.  So literally every single part of the"headline" was wrong.  Yay, holybuckets!
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 07, 2013, 10:20:11 AM

" Another strand of atheistic thought involves the political atheism that was implemented by Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, Enver Hoxha, and others. Researchers can historically analyze attitudes and policies toward mental health and illness under these officially atheistic regimes for trends and commonalities."

No Quesi, hate to disappoint you and Greybeard, but here it is......

I have a cherry-picker for sale; it's in good condition, are you interested?

Here's a challenge for you, holybuckets, give me the names of 3 historical people who were obviously Christian and leaders, who behaved in the same way as those you have just quoted.

It's not a hard question.
Greybeard, did you just see your side step? I believe we already talked about this.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: holybuckets on May 07, 2013, 10:28:40 AM
You have summarized the paper reasonably and you will see that the headline, "Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!" is typical Fox News deception.

The study has not been done, it has only been suggested. There are no specific questions for the study or any methodology, let alone results.

It's also not a harvard study.  The guy teaches at Dartmouth.  So literally every single part of the"headline" was wrong.  Yay, holybuckets!

Please allow me to answer both of your questions. First, the study was published in the Harvard Review of Psychology and is copyright owned by Harvard. You can teach at one University and be published from another. Second, and this is in response to greybeard, there are several stages to a study. Just because the final study has not yet been completed, does not mean that a study has not been done. One element is called the "proposal", the researcher gathers information to come to a hypothesis, then has enough information to provide to a University or and organization for approval, grants, or some other form of existence. I've simplified things in hopes to at least answer your concerns. Sometimes dealing with you guys is like playing in the sand box, what's next? My dad is bigger than your dad?
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Hatter23 on May 07, 2013, 10:52:34 AM
I am immediately drawn to Menkins truism about headlines with questionmarks is them. Something to the effect of "If a headline has a questionmark in it, the answer is almost always no"
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: kin hell on May 07, 2013, 08:16:10 PM
Ahsoholybuckets you're back.

Still leaking that less than honest puke I see.

Didn't your last abortive troll here teach you anything about truthfulness and accuracy, or do you just not care?
Thanks Kin,
Good to see you are still adding intelligent posts to the conversation.

Addressing the proven questionable ethics and variable honesty of the OP (that's you holyb) is intelligent, as much as you may not like it.

You return here with a history. The only way you could change peoples' prior opinion/knowledge of you is by proving them wrong, by proving that you have managed to find some morality in the meanwhile.
So what do you do instead?

You present this disingenuous deliberate self-serving misread of a topic.

Well done at so religiously maintaining your natural level.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Astreja on May 07, 2013, 08:20:40 PM
In other words, he probably wants to review treatment methods for atheists who are mentally ill, rather than saying atheism is a mental illness (as holybuckets is apparently trying to claim).

That sounds about right.  If I were for whatever reason forced to live in the Bible Belt of the USA, and had no support network because I had little in common with co-workers and neighbours, I'd want a therapist who could see the big picture of  patient+environment and come up with appropriate treatment strategies.  I certainly wouldn't want to be sitting in a therapist's office and hear unprofessional nonsense like "Have you prayed about it?"  >:(
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: magicmiles on May 07, 2013, 08:21:16 PM
I am immediately drawn to Menkins truism about headlines with questionmarks is them. Something to the effect of "If a headline has a questionmark in it, the answer is almost always no"

Headline: "Is Menkins truism valid?"

A nice paradox.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Hatter23 on May 08, 2013, 10:01:18 AM
I am immediately drawn to Menkins truism about headlines with questionmarks is them. Something to the effect of "If a headline has a questionmark in it, the answer is almost always no"

Headline: "Is Menkins truism valid?"

A nice paradox.

There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.

-Miracle Max

the almost does remove the paradox. 8)
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: jdawg70 on May 08, 2013, 10:11:55 AM
Please allow me to answer both of your questions. First, the study was published in the Harvard Review of Psychology and is copyright owned by Harvard. You can teach at one University and be published from another. Second, and this is in response to greybeard, there are several stages to a study. Just because the final study has not yet been completed, does not mean that a study has not been done. One element is called the "proposal", the researcher gathers information to come to a hypothesis, then has enough information to provide to a University or and organization for approval, grants, or some other form of existence. I've simplified things in hopes to at least answer your concerns. Sometimes dealing with you guys is like playing in the sand box, what's next? My dad is bigger than your dad?
Um.  The study not being completed necessarily, by definition, means not done.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Graybeard on May 08, 2013, 10:13:11 AM
You have summarized the paper reasonably and you will see that the headline, "Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!" is typical Fox News deception.

The study has not been done, it has only been suggested. There are no specific questions for the study or any methodology, let alone results.

It's also not a harvard study.  The guy teaches at Dartmouth.  So literally every single part of the"headline" was wrong.  Yay, holybuckets!

Please allow me to answer both of your questions. First, the study was published in the Harvard Review of Psychology and is copyright owned by Harvard. You can teach at one University and be published from another. Second, and this is in response to greybeard, there are several stages to a study. Just because the final study has not yet been completed, does not mean that a study has not been done. One element is called the "proposal", the researcher gathers information to come to a hypothesis, then has enough information to provide to a University or and organization for approval, grants, or some other form of existence. I've simplified things in hopes to at least answer your concerns. Sometimes dealing with you guys is like playing in the sand box, what's next? My dad is bigger than your dad?

I have mentioned to you elsewhere that you have a tendency to read things and not understand them. Rather, you take a meaning that agrees with one of your preconceived notions.

I have absolutely no idea why you went banging on about Dartmouth - Have a look at the title of the thread.

Anyway, there has been no study:

Quote
The exploration of the impact of religiosity on mental health is an enduring, if somewhat quiet, tradition. There has been virtually no exploration, however, of the influence of atheism on mental health. […] I argue that atheism (just like theism) is an appropriate domain of study for social and cultural psychiatrists (and allied social scientists) interested in exploring socio-environmental stressors and buffers relating to mental health.

Specifically, I argue that (1) atheism needs to be accurately measured as an individual-level exposure variable, with the aim of relating that variable to psychiatric outcomes, (2) there needs to be  greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution, and (3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood.
[...]

28 All of this demands further systematic investigation of the new atheists’ approach to mental health and illness.

Has the study been done?
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: LoriPinkAngel on May 08, 2013, 10:58:57 AM
Mental Illness is a medical condition.  An Atheist should be treated like any other freaking patient.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Jag on May 08, 2013, 11:52:56 AM
Anyway, there has been no study:

Quote
The exploration of the impact of religiosity on mental health is an enduring, if somewhat quiet, tradition. There has been virtually no exploration, however, of the influence of atheism on mental health. […] I argue that atheism (just like theism) is an appropriate domain of study for social and cultural psychiatrists (and allied social scientists) interested in exploring socio-environmental stressors and buffers relating to mental health.

Specifically, I argue that (1) atheism needs to be accurately measured as an individual-level exposure variable, with the aim of relating that variable to psychiatric outcomes, (2) there needs to be  greater systematic investigation into the influence of atheism on psychiatry as an institution, and (3) the relation of atheism to mental health needs to be explored by examining atheistic theory and its practical application, especially as it relates to the human condition, suffering, and concepts of personhood.
[...]

28 All of this demands further systematic investigation of the new atheists’ approach to mental health and illness.

Has the study been done?

And nothing in this supports the "made up from absolutely nothing" assumption from holybuckets that the writer is claiming atheism as a mental illness. This:
In other words, he probably wants to review treatment methods for atheists who are mentally ill, rather than saying atheism is a mental illness (as holybuckets is apparently trying to claim).

That sounds about right.  If I were for whatever reason forced to live in the Bible Belt of the USA, and had no support network because I had little in common with co-workers and neighbours, I'd want a therapist who could see the big picture of  patient+environment and come up with appropriate treatment strategies.  I certainly wouldn't want to be sitting in a therapist's office and hear unprofessional nonsense like "Have you prayed about it?"  >:(

is much closer to an accurate summary that anything holybuckets is trying to claim.

holybuckets, your bucket may be quite hole-y indeed - your common sense appears have leaked out. You seem to understand the process of conducting a study, while completely ignoring what the study you posted actually says.

Do you intend to respond to any of the posts about that?
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: jaimehlers on May 08, 2013, 12:30:19 PM
Second, and this is in response to greybeard, there are several stages to a study. Just because the final study has not yet been completed, does not mean that a study has not been done. One element is called the "proposal", the researcher gathers information to come to a hypothesis, then has enough information to provide to a University or and organization for approval, grants, or some other form of existence. I've simplified things in hopes to at least answer your concerns. Sometimes dealing with you guys is like playing in the sand box, what's next? My dad is bigger than your dad?
Yes, a study has been done.  It's just not the one you tried to suggest had been done, namely, "are atheists mentally ill?"  Which pretty much came across as "is atheism a mental illness?"

Either explain your reasoning for why you put that kind of a spin on it, or clarify what you were actually trying to assert with this thread.
Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Quesi on May 08, 2013, 01:49:56 PM
Holybuckets, I'm really split here.  I can't tell whether you are being intentionally dishonest and antagonistic, or if your reading comprehension is really as limited as your posts seem to indicate.

Let's review here. 

Dr. Whitley is first and foremost, and advocate for people with mental illnesses.  He advocates for the RECOVERY model, which he explains in great detail in the video I posted.  He specializes in meeting the needs of patients who are members of marginalized communities, and he promotes what he calls a "consumer driven model" of mental health services. 

His primary work revolves around the recovery model.  He promotes governmental policies that support the recovery model.  He draws on his background in anthropology to create culturally sensitive service models designed to meet the needs of the mental health care consumers who are ethnically, culturally, religiously or economically marginalized. 

His primary work is not that of a diagnostician.  And he sure as hell is not writing articles labeling subsets of the population as mentally ill or attempting to posthumously diagnose mental illnesses in historical figures. 


Title: Re: Are Atheists Mentally Ill? A Harvard study may think so!
Post by: Quesi on May 08, 2013, 01:56:42 PM
And Holybuckets, I KNOW you want to argue that atheists are mentally ill.  I know that is really what you want to do.  But your selection of Dr. Whitley just fails to do that. 

I actually sort of feel sorry for your in your quest, so I googeld "is atheism a mental illness" and got lots of links. 

Here is one that you will like.

http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/atheists_mentally_ill.htm

I hope this makes you feel better.  If not, you can google yourself.