Medical Atheists

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Medical Atheists

Atheists working / interested in the medical / health arena including psych. Discussion about abortion, right to die, suicide, the interference of religion in healthcare etc etc

Members: 202
Latest Activity: Dec 14, 2013

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Comment by Phillip Borders on September 11, 2010 at 6:38pm
Great. Talk atcha later.
Comment by Michael Caton on September 11, 2010 at 5:55pm
That's a good idea - to see if there's really a need for a separate forum to discuss (and by its existence, validate) secular ethics. I'll try that avenue.

Some of the clearest-thinking atheists with the clearest values are the former theists, because in a sense you're "born again" and you chose consciously to do so. So my hat's off to you and to everybody who takes that journey. Dawkins cites a statistic in the God Delusion that only 1 out of 12 people leaves their family's religion or ideology. I was raised atheist, so in fact, I never made a choice as a cognitively mature person to reject religion since I'd never accepted it. But I make a conscious effort to make sure that my values and beliefs are not mine only because of memetic heredity, so to speak.

I'll check back in over the next month and let you and the group know how things are going. -Mike
Comment by Phillip Borders on September 10, 2010 at 10:58pm
Sorry about the greedy vertebrates at the Burgess Shale - another kind of scat, I guess.

I would imagine that my medical school was more conservative than those on the west coast. My journey is one of extremes. I started as the president of the Christian Medical Society. Strange, I know. It seems a lifetime ago.
Then I left that group when I came out(gay) and became the founder and president of the first gay organization at the school. Only a few gays would even talk to me in secret. They were fearful of retribution. Of course, that was 1990.

Now, I'm an atheist and still dealing with discrimination from medical professionals, patients and family

You may want to speak with the chief of the ethics dept and ask them about having a discussion on atheist/secular ethics.
At least you may get an idea on how other students would receive the idea and this may lead to a student led group.
Comment by Michael Caton on September 10, 2010 at 5:34pm
1) Burgess Shale - I didn't think it was worth it, so I didn't go! Just went to the visitor center. I didn't think I would get into atheist heaven any faster if I paid with money and time to see them in situ :) If you don't like grizzly bears, and in the Canadian Rockies there are many, it might be a nice way to get out in the forest with a guide and not have to worry about being eaten, and some people go for that reason. I didn't see any the whole time I was up there although they were around since I did see scat on trail. Little did the Paleozoic fauna know how nasty their vertebrate descendant predators would be!

2) RE fundamentalism in medicine - just yesterday was our on campus activity fair. There was a Christian fellowship there but a) they're far from fundamentalist, b) and they're not very big or active (one group out of 20, just a place for Christian students to get together). So if student demographics are a reflection of medicine in at least this part of the U.S., that's a good sign. (Medical school student bodies are extremely diverse, especially on the West Coast.) When I mentioned my secular medical student group idea to another student, he said he liked it (I believe he's from a Muslim background but is agnostic himself) but he wondered if it would hurt me during residency applications. My response is that I'd be doing it as a place for medical students with a strongly rational/secular ethical orientation to come, rather than for a resume liner, so I didn't have to report it. Of course this is worrying about discrimination from other medical professionals rather than patients, although I can imagine many theist patients not being happy about going to a physician that doesn't share their faith.

Final thoughts: in my view, since there are already non-religious ethics discussion groups for us, that would seem to serve one of the main purposes of an atheist medical student group. On the other hand it would be nice to give legitimacy to positive atheism by labeling something as such, so I'm still debating.
Comment by Phillip Borders on September 9, 2010 at 7:06pm
I do not know of any research about atheism and medical specialties. From what I can determine, it is still very difficult for doctors to come out of the atheist closet and maintain a practice. At least, there is much fear among atheist doctors to be out. As far as I know, I have not met another atheist doctor. So, there is minimal, if any, support.
I have met many christian fundamentalist Psychiatrists though. I don't get it. I was nonfundamentalist christian when I went into psychiatry but I could not reconcile the illogic and hypocrisy of it all.

55$ and a 7 hour hike. Was it worth it?
Comment by Michael Caton on September 8, 2010 at 11:27pm
Thanks for the kind words. I feel like I'm more focused and know myself better than the younguns in the class, but I'm also not going to be heartbroken if I get to my neuro rotation and hate it. The reason I'm planning on neuro is because I think I'll enjoy it and be good at it, and if that's truer for another specialty, then I'll do that instead. BTW, have you seen any of the data about different academic disciplines tending toward atheism more or less? Seems linguists, psychologists and anthropologists deverts the most people. I wonder if a similar relation holds in medicine, which would suggest that psych and neuro are more atheist than some of the other specialties. Also, I might as well share this here - just before class started I went on a road trip and went to see the Burgess Shale. Little did I know the Canadians have protected it so it's $55 Canadian and a 7-hour obligatory guided hike to see it! At least the town in British Columbia where it is is pretty (shale specimens included)
http://picasaweb.google.com/mdcaton/FieldsAndNotTheBurgessShale#
Comment by Phillip Borders on September 8, 2010 at 9:08pm
I went through all of medical school planning to go into Family Medicine. I started the internship and learned quickly that it wasn't for me. I then changed to Psychiatry and knew I made the correct decision. So, I recommend being open especially until completing year three. Then you will have a much better idea. Even then, it's ok to change your mind. I'm glad I did.
I commend you for doing this at 36. It was hard enough for me when I started at 21. But, there were several nontraditional students at my school who did very well. They were more motivated and more disciplined. Their life experienced help them tremendously. You will do well.
Comment by Michael Caton on September 7, 2010 at 11:02pm
I'm just starting my second year of med school at UCSD. I'm nontraditional (started at 35, now 36) and really enjoying med school, in particular neuro (which was all classroom so far). Ask me again during first preclinical year and we'll see if my attitude is still so positive.
Comment by Phillip Borders on September 7, 2010 at 8:47pm
Michael- Where are you training? I went to NEOUCOM. What has your experience been like so far?
Comment by Michael Caton on September 7, 2010 at 8:04pm
Hoping to become a psychiatrist or neurologist, when I finished my training.
 

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