Open Thread AE 833: Religion & Depression

On the show I discussed the study published in Psychological Medicine that examined the relationship between religious beliefs and major depression. The prevailing view has been that religious belief provided some protective and/or mitigating effect on major depression. This study puts a serious dent in that view with its conclusion that “These results do not support the notion that religious and spiritual life views enhance psychological well-being.”

The study included over 8000 participants in seven countries and found that stronger religious beliefs were correlated with higher risk of depression. You can read the abstract of the study yourself here (unfortunately, you’ll have to pay if you want the full article), or you can read Tomas Rees excellent summary here.

Something I neglected to bring up on the show is the implication this research study has on the Army’s Spiritual Fitness program. As many of us foxhole atheists have known all along, religious belief is not some magic talisman that wards off depression, PTSD, or other mental health problems that may arise in humans exposed to traumatic events. In spite of this, the Army continues to promote a program that its own statistics show has, at best, had no effect on the suicide rate. At worst, this program may be exacerbating the suicide/depression rate among soldiers, if only by promoting something that doesn’t work over things that do work.

Anyway – open thread, so have at it.

Open thread on episode #804: Russell and Tracie

Posted this preemptively before the show aired. I have added some notes since the show. Here are some things I mentioned in my intro:

The crew is aware that there were technical problems again with the live Ustream feed. They have ruled out problems with the laptop hardware. The current working theory is that the public access studio has limited internet bandwidth, and this is somehow interfering with streaming. It might be fixed in the future by switching to a lower quality stream.

Who’s got the best Public Access TV show? Oh yeah, I think you know.

For the third year in a row, the Austin Chronicle Reader’s Poll has recognized that The Atheist Experience is the best God Damned show on Public Access Television.  Thank you, thank you for your votes.

Oh yeah, here’s the blurb we got.  I really like it.

Around the time Richard Dawkins was on a book tour for Unweaving the Rainbow, a scrappy cast and crew of Austin’s own The Atheist Experience was exploring atheism, ethics, reason, and science – taking calls from true believers and nonbelievers alike. Fifteen years and more than nine million (!!!) YouTube hits later, the shows keep on coming like clockwork. Yes, but who … made … the clock?!?! (Humans.)

 

You might be a dumbass if…

…you get your weekend schedules confused, and think you’re co-hosting the show the weekend after you’re actually slated to do it. Derp.

Anyway, consider this the open thread for episode #777. And hey, it just meant Josh got another chance to be on the show! He’s good people.

Speaking of co-hosting drama: You might also be a dumbass if your obsessive hate-on for a certain female personality in the atheist/skeptical community becomes so irrational and overwrought that it prompts you actually to create an online petition in an attempt to get her ousted from her co-host slot on a podcast, utterly oblivious to the deep and hilarious irony in whining about “divisiveness” and “the free exchange of ideas” while doing so (and this on top of being a clueless n00b who fails to realize that such a stupid petition would bring the trollocopters flying in like that scene from Apocalypse Now).

I’m glad I’m only the first kind of dumbass.