Study, study, study

Study #1, as I read it in the Harvard Crimson, is a thinly-veiled slam on religious people, and religious public officials in particular.  Researchers at Harvard have concluded that people who believe in God tend to think more “intuitively” while people who don’t believe in God tend to think more “reflectively.”  In other words, the researchers concluded that believers tend to base decisions on faith, while non-believers tend to base decisions on thought.

As I see it, the suggestion that reason and faith are negatively correlated is logically and methodologically-flawed and likely driven by an atheistic agenda.  Reason and faith are not at odds.  One can be intellectually brilliant and maintain a well-reasoned belief in God, just as one can be a complete idiot and deny the existence of God.  The Crimson reports this study as a cautionary tale about electing public officials who believe in God and therefore supposedly will legislate based on faith rather than reason.  In general, that too is a flawed conclusion as I see it.  In a secular government like ours, yes, it’s important for public officials to base public-policy decisions on logic, not on faith, but I think most public officials who are also believers understand that.

No, I don’t like it when a public official wants to ban abortion simply because his/her religion commands it — I want that public official to articulate a 100% logical basis for his/her position before he/she imposes it upon Americans who don’t all share his/her faith.  But, I also don’t like it when an atheist public official who supports legalized abortion pretends like he/she can’t see anything wrong even with an abortion doctor performing abortions on girls as young as ten without alerting child protective services, as required by law, to the possibility that those girls need protection from repeat sexual abuse (as occurred here in Kansas).  Here in America, both believers and non-believers can and should be expected to base public-policy positions on reason, not on faith, and simply being a person of faith does not imply to me that a public official is significantly less likely to be reflective.

Study #2 reaffirms the danger inherent in recreational experimentation with hallucinogenic drugs.  This new study found that a single use of hallucinogenic mushrooms caused functional changes in the brains of approximately 60% of study participants that are at least semi-permanent (lasting at least a year) if not permanent (participants will have to be followed for life in order to assess permanence).

Study #3 reaffirms another warning I’ve given repeatedly, this time about what I believe to be a ridiculous over-diagnosis of ADHD and consequent over-prescription of psycho-stimulant medications like Ritalin and Adderral.  The percentage of American children diagnosed with ADHD has increased steadily since the 1980’s, and it’s now approaching 10%.  That’s right, 10% of American children supposedly have a brain disease.  That’s insane in my opinion — the number, not the kids.  Accordingly, the number of American children who are on psycho-stimulants by their teen years has now reached or exceeded 5%.  It’s no surprise really — when you diagnose millions of people with a disease as little kids, you’re going to have a lot of them on medication for it by the time they’re teenagers.  What makes it even more frightening to me is that the 5% figure doesn’t even capture the untold numbers of additional teenagers who are taking their friends’ psycho-stimulants recreationally.  I won’t even begin to tell you here how bogus I think all of this is, but if you want to know, I’ll refer you to a WorldNetDaily column that I wrote about it:  http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=87729.

And before I go, a few updates on other Lawpsyc news:

Entrapment?  Seriously?  The would-be “r.c. bomber” I told you about yesterday is apparently asserting that he was entrapped by federal agents.  No way.  Entrapment occurs when a defendant had no intention to commit a crime but was persuaded, enticed, coaxed, cajoled, i.e. talked into it, by the cops.  This looks to me like a classic, perfectly-legal, “sting” operation, wherein the defendant formulated the intent to commit a crime, all by himself, started actively looking for explosives, all by himself, and as a result, came to the attention of federal agents, who then posed as suppliers of explosives, took an order for explosives from the defendant, delivered it to the defendant, and arrested the defendant.  As I see it, the only entrapment involved here is the entrapment this guy’s likely to experience for the rest of his life in a concrete and steel cage.  (And by the way, this guy has prior arrests, e.g. for drug possession, which demonstrate, as I’m always saying, that guys like him aren’t necessarily any more devout in their religious beliefs than the run-of-the-mill American street-gang thug.)

“16 & Pregnant” isn’t so glamorous after all.  Two young idiots featured on the generally-idiotic “reality” show 16 and Pregnant have had their two-year-old removed from their home after cops and child-welfare workers found the home littered with drugs, drug paraphernalia, and human excrement, infested with insects, and inhabited by the baby, the two apparently-intoxicated “parents,” and three neglected dogs that also had to be removed from the home by animal-welfare workers.  So, once again, I suggest that we stop glamorizing the idea of raising children in grossly sub-optimal circumstances.  Instead of presenting abusive and neglectful parenting as “entertainment,” profiting off of it at the expense of the kids involved and thereby condoning it, let’s get the cameras and spotlights out of these homes and just let them get the attention that they deserve from family courts, child protective services, law enforcement, etc., and hopefully, eventually, mercifully, from some decent adoptive parents.

Dr. Conrad Murray‘s trial for the alleged involuntary manslaughter of singer Michael Jackson has progressed to testimony about what witnesses observed in the minutes immediately after Jackson was found unresponsive.  The testimony has been that after finding Jackson unresponsive but before calling 9-1-1, Dr. Murray attempted to conceal the drugs that he had been administering to Jackson and even asked a witness to help him do so.

Attending to one’s self-interests before the interests of a patient in the midst of a life-and-death crisis would be an appalling disregard of the moral and legal requirements of a physician, but it wouldn’t really be all that inconsistent with what’s been reported about Dr. Murray’s history.  In the time since Jackson’s death, it’s been reported that Murray’s repeatedly skipped out on practice partners, left creditors unpaid, blown off child support payments, etc.  Those reports paint a picture of a man who’s been willfully disregarding his duties to others, harming others, to benefit himself, for many years.

Based on my experience as a frequent assessor of sociopaths, I can report to you that, as appalling as it is, both to fellow health care professionals like myself and to members of the general public, who expect doctors to be trustworthy (and most are), what witnesses say happened at Jackson’s house that fateful night may not really be that far of a stretch for a guy like Murray.  Stay tuned.

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