This seems like a good time to mention that, when a friend says that they’ve made progress on a mental health issue, it is generally inappropriate to criticize their progress as Insufficiently Rational/Skeptical.
Yes, there are caveats. Yes, sometimes people do dangerous things trying to get better. Yes, sometimes people do quack treatments that don’t work. Yes, yes, yes.
But if someone says, “Hey guys, I’m feeling better!” and whatever you say is less along the lines of “That’s awesome, good for you!” and more along the lines of “UR DOIN IT RONG,” then you’re doing more harm than good.
And from one skeptic/atheist to another, at that point, you can shove your skepticism/atheism you-know-where.
I don’t understand what you are saying here exactly, how could a response to mental illness be insufficiently skeptical? Are you trying to refer to homeopathic “drugs”?
I agree with you, people should be happy when others make progress in that sphere, but how can a treatment be irrational?
I, as a skeptic, am just wondering because it doesn’t sound like a fair use of those two words.
For instance, if someone finds religious observance helpful, or if pseudo-spiritual concepts like having a soul or having a deeper purpose in life have been helpful to them.
Do people really have souls? Is there really a god? Does life really have any intrinsic purpose? I don’t believe so, no. But if believing so helps someone else, I’d rather see them mentally healthy than mentally ill.
Ok, but if that person wishes to say that this idea is true, then I feel I have a obligation to debate them on it. If they keep it to themselves then I don’t care, but otherwise you have to treat them as a thinking person.
I have heard an example from Dawkins, of a nonbeliever still praying because it helps him think. I have take no issue with that, but if they take the religious route and say they are actually talking to a supernatural being, then I feel you have to argue.
No, you do not have an “obligation to debate” anyone. Especially not when they’re posting publicly about something personal and painful like mental illness (and recovery thereof).
If someone posts a status that just says, “I believe we have souls,” then the protocols are quite different and respectful debate is appropriate. But I’m not talking about those situations. I’m talking about when someone has taken the immensely brave step of openly discussing their mental health problems, and when they’re accomplished the extremely difficult step of progressing towards recovery. That is not an appropriate time to debate.
Yes, treating people as thinking people is important. It’s equally if not more important to treat them as feeling people. Do not undermine someone’s recovery from mental illness by questioning it, insulting it, and/or treating it as illegitimate or as a subject for debate. I can’t say this strongly enough.