Re: Debunk All Religiosity Equally (D.A.R.E.)

From: Michael Wiik (
Date: Mon Jul 09 2001 - 08:21:28 MDT

Some interesting tidbits from sunday's Washington Post outlook article
'Calling Dr God'


Researchers have found, for example, that religious people live, on
average, about seven years longer than other Americans. Levin cites a
study done by California's respected Human Population Laboratory that
tracked 5,000 people for 28 years and found that those who frequently
attended church were 23 percent less likely to die during the study
period than people who didn't regularly go to church. "This holds true
even controlling for the fact that religious folks tend to avoid such
behaviors as smoking and drinking that increase the risk of disease and
death," Levin reported.

Other studies have found that for each of the three leading causes of
death in the United States -- heart disease, cancer and hypertension --
people who report a religious affiliation have lower rates of illness.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have reported that attending
religious services at least once a month more than halved the risk of
death due to heart disease, emphysema, suicide and some kinds of


Well, consider this: A 1988 study by San Francisco cardiologist Randolph
Byrd in the Southern
Medical Journal reported that coronary care patients who, unknown to
them, were prayed for by
strangers in Christian prayer groups outside the hospital fared
significantly better than patients who did not receive prayers -- a
finding confirmed by another research team 10 years later and currently
the subject of a large-scale study at Harvard Medical School. (*)

More generally, Levin says, a deeply held religious faith seems to be
particularly effective in warding off death among people who are already
ill or infirm and wish to return to good health. For example,
researchers at Dartmouth Medical School examined the survival rates of
232 post-surgical cardiac patients. "Deaths in a six-month follow-up
period after open-heart surgery were 11 percent in patients who
considered themselves 'not at all,' 'slightly' or 'fairly' religious,' "
Levin reported. "In those who were 'deeply' religious, the death rate
was zero" -- findings similar to those from a study of 400 older adults
in Connecticut conducted by researchers at Harvard and Yale


(*) And here's a link to an abstract of the Byrd study (along with
comment links pro and con).

Damn, too bad I'm an atheist...


Michael Wiik
Messagenet Communications Research
Washington DC Area Internet and WWW Consultants

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