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).
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.