September 3, 2007

Psychiatrists the least religious

human nature,naturalism,psychiatry — thomasr @ 3:30 am

In a recent survey of American physicians (see also here) it was found that the least religious of all medical specialties is psychiatry. It was also found that religious physicians, especially Protestants, are less likely to refer patients to psychiatrists, and more likely to send them to members of the clergy or religious counselors. As co-author Farr Curlin claims:

“Something about psychiatry, perhaps its historical ties to psychoanalysis and the anti-religious views of the early analysts such as Sigmund Freud, seems to dissuade religious medical students from choosing to specialize in this field,”

scr_logo.jpgSCR comment: Another possibility is that psychiatrist, contrary to other medical specialities, see the direct consequences of how both therapeutic (as well as recreational) drugs can alter the mind. It would be interesting to know whether the runner-up on the atheist scoreboard is the group of neurologists. This could suggest that these groups are more likely to view the mind as a product of the brain, and that other medical specialist groups may still operate (e.g. implicitly) with a view that allows a distinction between a physical body and a non-physical mind.

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May 21, 2007

Who’s superstitious?

altered states,naturalism — thomasr @ 3:28 am

superstition.jpgWhat makes some people supersticious, or believe in the paranormal? In the latest issue of the Journal of Research in Personality, researchers Marjaana Lindeman and Kia Aarnio from Helsinki, Finland, first set out by conceptually distinguishing between the concepts of superstition, magical beliefs and paranormal beliefs. All concepts are commonly identified as “a confusion of core knowledge about physical, psychological, and biological phenomena”. Then, by applying a self-report questionnaire, they show that superstitious individuals accepted more violations of core ontological distinctions, and that “ontological confusions discriminated believers from skeptics better than intuitive thinking, analytical thinking, or emotional instability”. The report is available as a preprint here (PDF).

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January 15, 2007

Center for Naturalism — latest Newsletter

naturalism,philosophy — thomasr @ 7:11 am

natualism.jpgThe January-February newsletter from the Center for Naturalism is out.  It contains topics such as:

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