“Atheists die first”?

My post on Dr Wendy Walsh — “Atheists die first”: CNN’s “expert” fights back — has been experiencing a spike in hits over the past day or so. It deals with the research evidence surrounding claims that religious belief (and non-belief) influence a person’s physical health prospects. The task of conducting scientific research into such matters is actually incredibly complicated, given the morass of statistical inter-associations among highly pertinent variables (such as socio-economic status, education levels, age, gender, and access to healthcare), as well as the small matter of direction of cause-and-effect.

However, contrary to the views of Dr Walsh, the evidence does not appear to support the assertion that atheists die first. You can find the post here.

As it happens, I recently touched on this issue again when discussing scientific research relating to Christmas. You can find that discussion here (check out #2 on the list).


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  1. Actually, there’s some semi-corroborating evidence from a much older study that compared survival rates from similar traumas between Eastern and Western religious people.

    Adherents of the more fatalistic and less judgmental (Heaven and Hell v. Reincarnation) Eastern faiths had noticeably lower survival rates than Westerners when dealing with the same injuries.

    A similar function might apply to Atheists v. Theists as well but I believe that it’d have to set in the context of “all other inputs being equal” because I can’t see it as more than one factor among many.

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