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Medical Doctors who believe in God?
Posted: 09 April 2009 02:20 AM   [ Ignore ]
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First time poster here. I know that there are a lot of smaty-pants on this forum, so, I’m asking in advance for some leeway regarding gramar and the like.
To introduce myself, I’ll say that I am just an average Wal-mart shopping mom. I have a degree in Fine Art, not that I imagine anyone would really care!  I am happily married to a philosopher (who posts here under the name Pragmatist, or something like that, I think)

We have a couple of kids, one of which was recently diagnosed with epilepsy. After several months of trying different antiepileptic drugs, it has been confirmed that her condition is intractable, so, our next step to get her life back, is a two-phase neurosurgery, which will happend two weeks from now.

The reason that I have wanted to join this forum is because I am perplexed about the people who believe in God, even though they themselves have experienced an unfortunate diagnosis.


Since our daughter was diagnosed I have scoured the internet for information, and have gotten a crash coarse in epilepsy. I have made contact with many kind and helpful parent’s on various forums. And inevitabley, the common denominator among all of the well-meaning parent’s has been an expression in the belief in a God.  Typically, a reply to a forum question that I have posted will involve the sentiment that they are praying for our daughter. How can I be annoyed or bothered about that? They are just trying to be nice.

It just confuses me more than anything. How can people believe that God hears their prayers and has the power to do something about it and still seek out the best doctors? How do they reason in their mind, the one’s who don’t have cures? Do they think God didn’t like them as much as the ones who were cured? What kind of a mean-spirited God do they pray to?
I just don’t get it, especially people who are educated in science. I have known several M.D.‘s who believe in the super-natural.
Is anyone else puzzled by this seemingly no-brainer?

[ Edited: 09 April 2009 05:45 AM by dougsmith ]
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Posted: 09 April 2009 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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People have a very strong tendency to believe in whatever gives them comfort. The idea of a supernatural being who loves and protects you, and rewards you in the afterlife, is ancient. The world and the universe are very large, complex, confusing, and often dangerous. It’s nice to believe that we have a super-being to guide us and protect us, and punish the evil ones, etc.

People are free to believe whatever they want to believe, as long as they don’t trample on my own rights.

P.S. Welcome!

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Posted: 09 April 2009 05:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Welcome to the forum, Shmedelle. I certainly agree with your diagnosis. The world as we see it does not give us reason to believe in an omnicompetent God.

NB: as per the rules, blue is for Mods and Admins to give their “official notices”. So I have changed that passage of yours to green.

Enjoy!

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Posted: 09 April 2009 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi Shmedelle,

I went through a period when I thought one of my sons was seriously ill – it eventually turned out not to be the case. During that time some of our friends and family members offered to pray for him, an act which surprisingly didn’t seem to bother me much. I am not sure why, but perhaps the pain I was feeling at that time was so great that it made me immune to almost everything that I would normally find intolerable in my daily life. Why some doctors might believe in God, though, boggles my mind: any hospital—especially the oncology clinic for children I got to know—is clearly one place where the absence of any omnipotent, benevolent God is more than obvious.

I am not sure of the exact wording now, but I remember that Marcus Aurelius once said that instead of praying for our children’s health we should try to focus on our strength when dealing with these difficult situations. But then, being a philosopher is one thing, being a parent is another.

Welcome to the forum, Shmedelle. I hope you enjoy it here.

[ Edited: 09 April 2009 07:45 AM by George ]
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Posted: 09 April 2009 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Medical Doctors were educated in sciences (chemistry, biology, and others), but not in Science, specially in critical thinking. MDs are like everybody else, and have religious beliefs for the same reasons. If I´m not mistaken, oncologists are more religious that the others, mainly because they need more emotional support, positive results can be interpreted as “God´s Will” while the negative ones are ignored and, as Shermer pointed out in his book “Why People Believe in Weird Things”, people in environments where they have less control of outcomes are more prone to mystical and religious thinking.

But not them all are religious, of course. I even know an oncologist that is a declared skeptic.

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Posted: 09 April 2009 04:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Welcome.  I wish I had some answers but I don’t.  :(

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 12 April 2009 12:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thank you all for taking the time to reply. By the way, Mriana I too am in Missiouri, near Kansas City.
I have read a couple of books by Sam Harris, and I read “The God Delusion”, by Dawkins. I have not read Shermer’s book, “Why People Believe Weird Things”, although, there is a copy of it here somewhere in my house because my husband used that text when he taught Critical Thinking last semester. I didn’t think Shemer’s book would have given me the the answers to what has been baffleing me, since it is my understanding that “Why People Believe Weird Things”, is geared more towards topics such as ghosts and UFO’s. Perhaps I’ll take another look.

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Posted: 12 April 2009 05:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’m down here in the “Queen City of the Ozarks”.  I read “The God Delusion” and Sam Harris’s books.  If it is a virus, I don’t want it. LOL  I think people feel they need a security blanket.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 12 April 2009 07:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The medical community has made great strides in surgically alleviating intractable childhood seizures. Just make sure of the track record of your neurosurgeon, and that your child is in a top notch Children’s medical facility that specializes in that sort of surgery.

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 13 April 2009 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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asanta,
Thanks. I know that there are thousands of people who are good candidates for epilepsy surgery, and only a small fraction actually have the surgery. Complications are very low, under 5 % for the two-phase surgery (which is what my daughter will have), the first phase, as you may know, involves implanting electrodes directly on the dura so the surgeon can locate the exact area of the focus. Once he can pin-point the focus, he will resect it during phase- two.

I have been very pleased with the care she has recieved. Her neurologist has been amazing through out this. Shortly after her diagnosis, it became clear that medicine would not help control the seziures. Her neuro gave me is cell number so I could call him directly, to have her meds adjusted and so forth. My respect for science, M.D.‘s, and nurses has been heighted a million times because of this experience.

The hospital,  that we will be traveling to, is one of the best in the country for this sort of surgery.

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Posted: 13 April 2009 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Must be mine!!! cheese
Just kidding, there are several fine institutions in the USA that will do a great job and give your child the best outcome possible!  smile

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 13 April 2009 06:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Stefano - 09 April 2009 07:31 AM

Medical Doctors were educated in sciences (chemistry, biology, and others), but not in Science, specially in critical thinking.

I have to say I disagree with this Stefano. Physicians are trained in the sciences, but part of any undergraduate science program is training in the scientific method. You can’t go through a four year biology or chemistry program and not have been presented with a good grounding in the scientific method. Medical school and residency presents physicians with further training in critical thinking. Medical students and physicians participate in journal club which requires them to read and critically analyze research articles. They are also trained in the art of differential diagnosis which also requires a critical thinking.

The reason some physicians still believe in god is that they don’t always incorporate what they do in practice to what they do in life. There is a dichotomy that some people are able to set up that allows them to keep these things separate. Its not just physicians who do this. There are world renowned scientists who believe in god too. Its a choice they’ve made for reasons I don’t really understand.

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Posted: 13 April 2009 06:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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asanta - 13 April 2009 04:29 PM

Must be mine!!! cheese
Just kidding, there are several fine institutions in the USA that will do a great job and give your child the best outcome possible!  smile


That made me smile! I can understand the pride you have. When surgery was first brought-up as an option, I mentioned to her neuro ,The Cleveland Clinic. We are originally from the Cleveland area, and like all of our former neighbors, we have a lot of pride in The Cleveland Clinic. We decided on another top-notch hospital for other reasons. Boy am I grateful that we live in a time that science has given us so many choices to recieve the best health care. My heart goes out to those living in parts of the world where such options don’t exist, and to people in parts of this country that have don’t have insurance.

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Posted: 13 April 2009 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Stefano - 09 April 2009 07:31 AM

Medical Doctors were educated in sciences (chemistry, biology, and others), but not in Science, specially in critical thinking. MDs are like everybody else, and have religious beliefs for the same reasons. If I´m not mistaken, oncologists are more religious that the others, mainly because they need more emotional support, positive results can be interpreted as “God´s Will” while the negative ones are ignored and, as Shermer pointed out in his book “Why People Believe in Weird Things”, people in environments where they have less control of outcomes are more prone to mystical and religious thinking.

But not them all are religious, of course. I even know an oncologist that is a declared skeptic.

I would think that M.D.‘s would be less religious than the general public, but that is just conjecture on my part. I don’t have any data to back that up. I could see how oncologists could go either way, believing or not believing. I would think that out of all of the specailties, neurolgists would tend to gather in the non-beliving group. Just speculation on my part.

I flipped through the neurosurgeon, Ben Carson’s book, “Gifted Hands”, but was turned off by all of the God references. I did read a memoir about neurosurgery called “Another Day in the Frontal Lobe”, by Katrina Firlik.

Firlik states unequivocally in her book, that her skills are not “gifts” granted by anyone, but rather the result of (in my opinion, an unimaginable) training and work.

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Posted: 02 November 2011 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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so how’s your married life going on ? how was your experience with walmat ? Is it good place for shopping cheap item online ?

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Posted: 02 November 2011 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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harrissteve11 - 02 November 2011 11:24 AM

so how’s your married life going on ? how was your experience with walmat ? Is it good place for shopping cheap item online ?

Are you a spammer or just retarded? Or both?

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