Friday, December 23, 2016
Church is good for you
You live longer if you go regularly. The study below seems fairly sound -- but why the effect exists is not clear. Stress reducing, maybe
Association of Religious Service Attendance With Mortality Among Women
Shanshan Li et al.
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. 2016;176(6):777-785
Inclusiveness and Diversity
By Walter E. Williams
Sometimes it seems as if every other word from the mouths of academicians is "inclusiveness" or "diversity." How sincere and truthful are these people about their "inclusiveness and diversity" religion?
Suppose a group of engineering students do not want to include black or Mexican students in their study group. Should they be permitted to have freedom of association or restrained from freely associating? The true test of one's commitment to freedom of association does not come when he permits people to be free to associate in those voluntary ways he deems appropriate. The true test comes when he permits people to associate in ways he deems offensive. I suspect that most academics believe that people should be permitted to associate only in ways they deem appropriate. This is no less than totalitarianism.
What about inclusiveness in dating? Would academics criticize people who expressed a desire to date only people of their own race? Would they criticize people who openly refused to date someone of the same sex? Would the "inclusiveness and diversity" people condemn or sanction same-race marriages? In other words, what limits would they impose to bring about inclusiveness and diversity?
Some might argue that when it comes to marriage, non-inclusiveness and lack of diversity are of little social consequence. That claim is pure nonsense. When there is assortative (non-random) mate selection, it heightens whatever group differences there are in the population. When high-IQ people marry other high-IQ people and when high-income people marry other high-income people, this non-inclusiveness in mate selection enhances the inequality in the population's intelligence and income distribution. In other words, there would be greater income equality if high-income people mated with low-income people. And to the extent that there is a racial correlation between these characteristics, there would be greater equality if white people mated with black people. But I imagine that most people, even academics, would be horrified by the suggestion of a mandate to require non-assortative mating.
What about diversity in academia? It's not at all uncommon to watch a college basketball game and see that 90 to 100 percent of the starting five players are black. Most of a team's white players are sidelined and warming the bench. College basketball — and, for that matter, college football — looks nothing like America. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport's "2015 Racial and Gender Report Card: College Sport" gives us the numbers. Blacks make up about 14 percent of the college population, but in Division I, 55.6 percent of basketball players and 43.6 percent of football players are black. Whites are 27 percent and 43.1 percent, respectively. One can only look upon Asians with profound sadness, for they are only 0.4 percent of college basketball players and 2 percent of football players. Latinos have been boxed out, as well. The lack of diversity, inclusiveness and proportionality in professional basketball and football is much worse. Blacks are about 74 percent of NBA players and about 69 percent of NFL players. This diversity injustice is aggravated by the fact that among the highest-paid players, blacks represent bigger percentages.
One can understand the lack of concern for diversity in professional sports, where it's just about money. But one is left flummoxed by the lack of diversity in college sports. After all, you can't listen to any college president or provost speak for more than a few minutes without hearing the word "diversity" or "inclusiveness" drop from his lips. Colleges spend hundreds of millions of dollars on diversity. MIT has a manager of diversity recruitment; Toledo University has an associate dean of diversity; Harvard, Texas A&M, the University of Virginia, the University of California, Berkeley and many others boast of officers, deans, vice presidents and perhaps ministers of diversity. But in what appears to be the height of deviousness and deceit, these administrators allow sports, the most visible part of most colleges, to be the least diverse and least inclusive. One has to wonder just how serious academicians are about diversity and inclusion.
A Public Service
Sometimes someone inadvertently performs a public service by bringing an unbelievably stupid and dangerous idea to the surface, where it can be exposed for what it is.
The New York Times can be credited — if that is the word — with performing this public service in a recent editorial against proposals to allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed guns. They refer to what they call the National Rifle Association’s “fantasy that citizens can stand up to gunmen by shooting it out.”
Nobody has suggested any such thing. Data collected over many years — but almost never seeing the light of day in the New York Times or the rest of the mainstream media — show many thousands of examples of people defending themselves with a gun each year, without having to pull the trigger.
If someone comes at you with a knife and you pull out a gun, chances are they will stop. The only time I ever pointed a gun at a human being, it was when someone was sneaking up toward me from behind a shed in the middle of the night. I never fired a shot. I just pointed the gun at him and told him to stop. He stopped.
Actually having to shoot someone is the exception, not the rule. Yet the New York Times conjures up a vision of something like the gunfight at the OK Corral.
Concealed guns protect not only those who carry them but also those who do not. If concealed guns become widespread, then a mugger or a car jacker has no way of knowing who has one and who does not. It makes being a mugger or a car jacker a less safe occupation. Gun control laws are in effect occupational safety laws — OSHA for burglars, muggers, car jackers and others.
The fatal fallacy of gun control laws in general is the assumption that such laws actually control guns. Criminals who disobey other laws are not likely to be stopped by gun control laws. What such laws actually do is increase the number of disarmed and defenseless victims.
Mass shootings are often used as examples of a need for gun control. But what puts a stop to mass shootings? Usually the arrival on the scene of somebody else with a gun.
Mass shooters are often portrayed as “irrational” people engaged in “senseless” acts. But mass shooters are usually rational enough to attack schools, churches and other places where there is far less likelihood of someone being on the scene who is armed.
Seldom do we hear about these “irrational” shooters engaging in “senseless” attacks on meetings of the National Rifle Association or a local gun show or a National Guard armory.
The fallacy of believing that the way to reduce shootings is to disarm peaceful people extends from domestic gun control laws to international disarmament agreements. If disarmament agreements reduced the dangers of war, there would never have been a World War II.
The decades leading up to that war were filled with international disarmament agreements. As with domestic gun control laws, the agreements were followed by peaceful countries and ignored by belligerent countries that built up huge war machines, such as in Nazi Germany and imperial Japan.
The net result was that the belligerent countries had every incentive to start wars, and that they inflicted devastating losses on the peaceful countries that had drastically curtailed their own military forces.
Eventually the Western democracies got their act together and turned things around, after they belatedly beefed up their military forces. But thousands of lives were lost needlessly before that happened. World War II was in its third year before Western forces won a single battle.
Undaunted by history, the same kind of thinking that had cheered international disarmament treaties in the 1920s and 1930s once again cheered Soviet-American disarmament agreements during the Cold War.
Conversely, there was hysteria when President Ronald Reagan began building up American military forces in the 1980s. Cries were heard that he was leading us toward nuclear war. In reality, he led us toward an end of the Cold War, without a shot being fired at the Soviet Union.
But who reads history these days, or checks facts before leading the charge to keep law-abiding people disarmed?
Anglican Archbishop warns 'hipster elitists' are ruining Christmas by removing religion from the celebration - after school children were banned from singing carols
The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has taken aim at 'politically-correct elitists' after traditional Christmas references were banished from the streets.
Archbishop Glenn Davies accused 'left-wing elitists' of being behind the NSW government's decision to remove banners saying 'very merry' and avoid the term 'Christmas'.
It comes amid reports of festive season signs being altered to say 'happy holidays' rather than 'merry Christmas' and carols being scrapped by schools, reports Daily Telegraph.
Dr Davies said the movement threatens to hinder freedom of speech and must be tackled before it spirals out of control. 'This kind of ideology comes from the left or should I say, the far left.'
He said the the removal of traditional Christmas references was a 'great folly'.
'The politically correct vanguard of secularists are basically trying to conform people to their particular pattern of speech and belief.'
Last week Peter Dutton called on Australians to 'rise up' and defend Christmas after a school rejected traditional carols for more secular songs.
Appearing on talkback radio, the furious Immigration Minister said his 'blood was boiling' after learning there was 'not one Christmas carol' at the celebration at Kedron State School in Queensland.
'It is political correctness gone mad and I think people have just had enough of it,' he told 2GB radio host Ray Hadley.
A member of Mr Dutton's Dickson electorate Jim told the radio show the public secondary school ceremony did not have 'one Christmas carol'.
The lyrics to We Wish You A Merry Christmas were replaced with 'we wish you a happy holiday', The Age reported.
'Many of the people, regardless of their religious belief, would be there happy to sing Christmas carols, happy to enjoy the fact that we celebrate Christmas as a Christian society,' Mr Dutton told 2GB
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.