Wednesday, May 18, 2016

An amusing reaction to some research

I was going to bypass the findings below until I saw the reaction to them.  The finding is that churchgoers live longer, which has actually been found several times before.  The study was reported in JAMA, a major medical journal.  And it is a very strong study.

But JAMA also published in the same issue a controlled but obviously furious article arguing that we should take no notice of the study.  You can read it here.  The author clearly HATED the finding. One imagines that he is a Left-leaning atheist.  The things he says   about the limitations of the study are perfectly correct but such limitations are to be found in most of the medical and social science literature.  If we applied similar strictures to all academic articles, 95% of them would vanish without trace. Which could be a good thing, of course.

But the point is that the critic lacks balance. In most of life we have to make decisions on the basis of limited evidence.  And we do it.  So by ordinary criteria, we should at least initially conclude that Christian beliefs are good for you. Heh!

Association of Religious Service Attendance With Mortality Among Women

Shanshan Li


Importance:  Studies on the association between attendance at religious services and mortality often have been limited by inadequate methods for reverse causation, inability to assess effects over time, and limited information on mediators and cause-specific mortality.

Objective:  To evaluate associations between attendance at religious services and subsequent mortality in women.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Attendance at religious services was assessed from the first questionnaire in 1992 through June 2012, by a self-reported question asked of 74 534 women in the Nurses’ Health Study who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline. Data analysis was conducted from return of the 1996 questionnaire through June 2012.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Cox proportional hazards regression model and marginal structural models with time-varying covariates were used to examine the association of attendance at religious services with all-cause and cause-specific mortality. We adjusted for a wide range of demographic covariates, lifestyle factors, and medical history measured repeatedly during the follow-up, and performed sensitivity analyses to examine the influence of potential unmeasured and residual confounding.

Results:  Among the 74 534 women participants, there were 13 537 deaths, including 2721 owing to cardiovascular deaths and 4479 owing to cancer deaths. After multivariable adjustment for major lifestyle factors, risk factors, and attendance at religious services in 1992, attending a religious service more than once per week was associated with 33% lower all-cause mortality compared with women who had never attended religious services (hazard ratio, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.62-0.71; P < .001 for trend). Comparing women who attended religious services more than once per week with those who never attend, the hazard ratio for cardiovascular mortality was 0.73 (95% CI, 0.62-0.85; P < .001 for trend) and for cancer mortality was 0.79 (95% CI, 0.70-0.89; P < .001 for trend). Results were robust in sensitivity analysis. Depressive symptoms, smoking, social support, and optimism were potentially important mediators, although the overall proportion of the association between attendance at religious services and mortality was moderate (eg, social support explained 23% of the effect [P = .003], depressive symptoms explained 11% [P < .001], smoking explained 22% [P < .001], and optimism explained 9% [P < .001]).

Conclusions and Relevance:  Frequent attendance at religious services was associated with significantly lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality among women. Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that physicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 16, 2016. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1615

Lazy Multicultural liar

An agency nurse recorded that three patients were 'OK' on Hallowe'en when they had actually been dead for weeks, a tribunal heard today.

Rufaro Mubvuta wrote in her notes that she had checked the residents and all was well during a nightshift at Long Meadow Care Home in Ripon, North Yorkshire on October 31, 2014.

One of the patients had been dead for over a month, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

Mubvuta also ignored an immobile patient's calls for help leaving her covered in urine all night.

The woman could not reach the call buzzer and had been shouting for help for hours, it was said.

Mubvuta, who was working for Hays Healthcare Ltd, recorded that the woman 'slept well all night' and she had 'assisted with all cares.'

Another patient was found the morning following Mubvuta's shift with a mysterious large bruise on her forehead.

Mubvuta had recorded she had checked on the woman through the night but made no mention of any bruising.

Samantha Forsyth, for the NMC, said: 'Some of the patients that were marked as 'OK' had been deceased for a while. 'One had died on September 17, one on October 15 and the other on October 22.

'The other who was not mobile at all needed help to get dressed and with her personal care.

'She had called for staff during the night and was found the following morning soaking wet, still in her day clothes.'

When asked, the patient confirmed that nobody had come to check on her, Ms Forsyth told the hearing. 'She could not reach the buzzer and said she had been awake all night.'  The patient had wet herself and was covered in urine, the hearing was told.

Mubvuta recorded that the patient: 'Slept well all night. Assisted with all cares.'

When questioned about this by the nurse coming in for the day shift Mubvuta said that she had checked on the woman and she had been fast asleep.

The nurse who took over from Mubvuta found a different patient with significant bruising on her forehead.

Mubvuta recorded that she checked the patient at 4.50am and 6am and she had some bruising up her arms and legs.

'The patient was found with a large bruise on her forehead that wasn't there the day before,' said Ms Forsyth.

The mysterious bruise did not appear anywhere in her notes and Mubvuta had no explanation for it, the hearing was told.

Mubvuta, who is present at the hearing, admits recording that three patients were 'OK' when they were deceased, failing to attend a patient's toiletry needs, failing to check on patients during the night shift and failing to record injury and making inadequate records.

She denies that her current fitness to practice is impaired. The hearing continues.


Perpetrator As Victim: No End To A Self-Inflicted "Tragedy". What "Nakba" commemorations really disclose

Daniel Mandel

Yesterday, May 15, Palestinians and their supporters, as they have done increasingly over recent years, marked the nakba (Arabic for ‘catastrophe’) –– the day 68 years ago that Israel came into existence upon the expiry of British rule under a League of Nations mandate.

That juxtaposition of Israel and nakba isn’t accidental. We’re meant to understand that Israel’s creation caused the displacement of hundreds of thousand of Palestinian Arabs.

But the truth is different. A British document from the scene in early 1948, declassified in 2013, tells the story: “the Arabs have suffered ... overwhelming defeats ... Jewish victories … have reduced Arab morale to zero and, following the cowardly example of their inept leaders, they are fleeing from the mixed areas in their thousands.”

In other words, Jew and Arabs, including irregular foreign militias from neighboring states, were already at war and Arabs were fleeing even before Israel came into sovereign existence on May 15, 1948.

Neighboring Arab armies and internal Palestinian militias responded to Israel’s declaration of independence with full-scale hostilities. In fact, the headline for the New York Times’ famous report on that day includes the words, ‘Tel Aviv Is Bombed, Egypt Orders Invasion.’ And, indeed, the head of Israel’s provisional government, David Ben Gurion, delivered his first radio address to the nation from an air-raid shelter.

Israel successfully resisted invasion and dismemberment –– the universally affirmed objective of the Arab belligerents –– and Palestinians came off worst of all from the whole venture. At war’s end, over 600,000 Palestinians were living as refugees under neighboring Arab regimes.

As Saudi columnist Abdulateef Al-Mulhim observed on previous anniversary, “It was a defeat but the Arabs chose to call it a catastrophe.” In fact, the Syrian, Qustantin Zuraiq, in his 1948 pamphlet, Ma’an al-Nakba (The Meaning of the Catastrophe), was first used the term nakba in this context, and the catastrophe of his description was not an Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, but their flight in anticipation of an Arab invasion and destruction of Israel.

Accordingly, the term nakba, as used today, smacks of falsehood, inasmuch as it implies a tragedy inflicted by Israel. The "tragedy," of course, was self-inflicted.

As Israel’s UN ambassador Abba Eban was to put it some years later, “Once you determine the responsibility for that war, you have determined the responsibility for the refugee problem. Nothing in the history of our generation is clearer or less controversial than the initiative of Arab governments for the conflict out of which the refugee tragedy emerged.”

However, the Palestinians do not mourn today the ill-conceived choice of going to war to abort Israel. They mourn only that they failed.

This is contrary to historical experience of disastrous defeat. The Germans today mourn their losses in World War Two –– but not by lauding their invasion of Poland and justifying their attempt to subjugate Europe. They do not glorify Nazi aggression.

The Japanese today mourn their losses in World War Two –– but not by lauding their assault on Pearl Harbor and their attempt to subjugate south-east Asia. They do not glorify Japanese imperialism.

Nakba commemoration is therefore instructive in a way few realize.

It informs us that Palestinians have not admitted or assimilated the fact –– as Germans and Japanese have done in varying degrees –– that they became victims as a direct result of their efforts to be perpetrators.

It also informs us that Palestinians would still like to succeed today at what they miserably failed to achieve then.

And it informs us that they take no responsibility for their own predicament, which is uniquely maintained to this day at their own insistence.

If readers doubt my word, consider the following vignette: in January 2001, John Manley, then-Foreign Minister in Jean Chretien’s Canadian Government, offered to welcome Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Canada. The Palestinian response? Mr. Manley was burned in effigy by Palestinian rioters in Nablus and Palestinian legislator Hussam Khader declared, “If Canada is serious about resettlement, you could expect military attacks in Ottawa or Montreal.”

Why this astounding response by a Palestinian official to an offer of refugee relief?

Because establishing a Palestinian state and resettling the refugees and their descendants inside it or abroad would remove any internationally-accepted ground for conflict. That’s why helping to solve the Palestinian refugee problem is regarded as a hostile act –– by Palestinians.

Nakba commemorations disclose that the conflict is about Israel’s existence –– not about territory, borders, holy places, refugees or any other bill of particulars.

When Palestinians accept that Israel is here to stay, the possibility of the conflict’s end will come into view. In the meantime, responsible governments can repudiate nakba commemorations –– rather than treat them as benign expressions of national loss or grief –– as a small but important step towards bringing that day closer.



Texas Lt. Gov. to Schools on Transgender Restroom, Locker Room Mandate: 'Do Not Enact This Policy'

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) told school administrators they should "not enact" the policy mandated by the Obama administration that students be allowed access to restrooms and locker rooms according to their "gender identity" rather than their biological sex.

Patrick made the comments Friday morning after the Obama administration issued a directive to public school officials that transgender students must be allowed to use the restroom and locker room facilities that matches their "gender identity."

"I’m telling all the superintendants of Texas right now, you have about three weeks left of the school year. Do not enact this policy,” Patrick said.

“70 to 80% of the people in your school district do not want it. Do not be blackmailed by the federal government. We will work through this.”

“The battle line was been drawn in a way that the president does not know the line he crossed this time,” Patrick later added. “When you take on mom and dad in their homes, when the president threatens their children, he has made a huge mistake.”

Patrick says he has plans to discuss how the state will respond to the directive with the state attorney general.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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