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A Reliable Negative Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by T2Bruno, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    Okay, but ... how and why? Can you actually demonstrate that? Just listing the things it could possibly be isn't really sound deductive reasoning. (e.g. the study could also have been secretly published by aliens, etc. ;))

    I guess I'm looking for a smoking gun. Is Miron Zuckerman a shady fellow? I don't know - don't know the guy. Is Personality and Social Psychology Review a dubious academic journal? No idea there either. If neither are sinister agents (nor any known associations) and we can't detect even incidental bias in the publication itself (e.g. we see that Zuckerman concluded that 2 + 2 = 5 when both he and we know it doesn't), we can't really find that they are 'probably' up to no good. :heh:

    [edit]

    Apologies pplr, I see now that you referred to the "article" as being potentially biased. I'm still not so sure about the impact even if it was though ... it's not like a dishonest portrayal of sound data invalidates the data.
     
  2. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    So someone talks about his urge to kill someone else, restrained only by his faith. And the *other* guy in the elevator is the douchebag, not him? That's oxymoronic.

    Is this joke based on the belief that faith is the only thing that prevents humanity from being murderous, raping, cannibalistic savages? "My first instinct would be to kill him" kinda underlines the view that many religious people have no innate moral code or values other that those dictated to them by their religion. So if they were to lose their faith, they would become shameless and unprincipled.

    I've heard this subtle message being brought out in many different ways. The gist of the warning is: "We have conditioned our flock to be well-behaved as long as they have their faith. If you make them lose their faith, they're rigged to explode!"

    It makes sense for religions to do this to their people, but it's obviously not about saving their souls. It's so that the faith is thouroughly entrenched in their psyche. Hell, damnation, eternal torture, and now the inbuilt belief that you cannot be held responsible for your actions if you were to lose your faith and 'inevitably' revert to barbarism.
     
  3. pplr Gems: 18/31
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    Yes and no.

    A really dishonest portrayal can cherry pick parts of data and leave utterly silent any mention of data that disagrees with theme supported via the cherry picked parts.

    But even if one doesn't cherry pick the data it is still possible to give an explanation that is wrong. Interpretation rather than the data itself can be a problem.

    I would be curious to see more of the study to see how far into the dynamics of religion, each religious group, and each non-religious group the study went.

    Not only did the study keep track of who belonged to what religion or denomination within a religion but of that subgroup there would be a list of questions.

    Do they feel the Theory of Evolution is accurate?

    How literally accurate do they feel the Bible is (or whatever religious texts their faith focuses on)?

    How old are they and have their view/practices changed at all over time?

    Have they changed denominations or even religions?

    What do they think of people outside their specific denomination?

    What is the thing they value most about their beliefs? (religious or not)

    Do their beliefs encourage them to examine themselves, others, memorize texts, and/or explore the meanings of those texts?



    Data is often an answer to a specific set of questions.

    But it doesn't necessarily tell you all of the dynamics related to the answers to those questions.

    From their little that was posted out of the study I think they should have used the term "Evangelical" instead of "Christians" as I would argue mainline Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics and probably more all count as "Christians".

    Moreover, I wasn't impressed that it that it failed to mention Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic religions when they are also major world religions.

    Sometimes the more depth the better so you can guess at dynamics the study doesn't directly spell out.


    Lets say data showed that everyone who scored above average on a certain math test at a certain school had blue eyes.

    That is the data but it doesn't explain why such results (data) occurred.

    Maybe the blue eyed students at that school are naturally better at math.

    Maybe the math teacher(s) favors students with blue eyes or disfavors students without blue eyes so only certain students receive the time, encouragement, and/or attention from said teacher(s) to do well at math.

    Maybe the genes of people in the community where the school is located result in an unusually high number of people with blue eyes so it would make sense for students that scored well to have blue eyes as most or all of the class in general has blue eyes.

    The data as it is from that one statistic doesn't rule any of those theories out and could be used as part of a claim that any one of them is accurate.

    Data doesn't provide an explanation and may not be deep enough to even guess at one with an high likelihood of being right.

    Edit:

    Rereading the article it seems likely the study included age but not a list of other things that may indicate more about the dynamics of the people and their religious groups.



    @Coin

    How do you know religion isn't both about encouraging a certain level or kinds of behavior and saving souls? Or even both those things and more?

    There is such a thing as multi-tasking.

    And just to be clear I expect most atheists to behave as well as an average person. Atheists are both people too and often have a moral code-perhaps not one directly from a religion but one nonetheless. But just because there are other moral codes doesn't mean that there couldn't be some benefit to a society or the people within it relating to religion providing additional moral codes or encouragement for them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
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  4. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    I guess there's some sense in that. I'm sure there are people out there that really do benefit psychologically from faith, and become more productice and harmonious members of society as a result. But this is surely just a side-effect that truly benefits only a small subset of worshipers who had morality issues to begin with. Otherwise, it's like saying all of their worshipers would have been immorral beasts if they had not found faith.

    But religions make the mistake of continuing on that train of thought, by stating that their faith is the only true moral code protecting humanity from savagery. It's obviously not true for atheists and people of other faiths, since they are quite civilised without the help of the particular moral doctrine in question. But some faithful truly believe that if they lost their faith, they'd revert to monsters. I doubt the comedian would be a savage if he grew up atheist, but now that he believes that, he might become prone to dangerous/unpredictable behaviour if he were to lose his faith now.

    It's a situation where the religious message only diminishes the standing of its own faithful. Despite the advantages of nurturing morality in some people, I still think that it's mostly self-serving for the religion, and harmful to its worshipers. Religion is designed to become hardwired into an individual's personality, so even if they were to break away from their religious past, it would still haunt them in their thoughts, leading to turmoil and confusion.
     
  5. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    I know it annoys atheists, but I've always considered atheism a form of religion. It is a religion about nothing. People that are atheists believe in it strongly, they attempt to convert and convince others to their belief. While they may not have churches/temples, they have cocktail parties.


    [​IMG]
     
  6. damedog Gems: 15/31
    Latest gem: Waterstar


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    Actually atheist churches do exist.

    Do you have evidence for this or do you just want to believe it because it benefits your anti-religious view?
     
  7. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    Evidence that most religious people were not destined to become savages before they knew faith? No, but it isn't hard to give the benefit of the doubt here.:D
     
  8. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I've never been to an athiest cocktail party, seen an atheist church, been in discussion with anyone on the values and benefit of atheism. SP is the only place these discussions exist in my personal life. I don't go to church and don't care if anyone else goes. I support my children in their religious beliefs. I just don't believe in God (not, as TGS wants to put, "I believe there is no God").

    pplr: The study was not done stand alone. The author looked at previous research (multiple studies) to make his determinations -- I'm not even sure how much of the data was collected by the author. You'd have to spend the $25 to make that determination. Nearly everyone here is also basing all their conclusions on article written by third parties and not the paper itself. Anyone with a desire to investigate can easily find out how valued the journal is -- journals get rated by their impact (unimaginatively called the impact factor, IF). For example, Nature (which is the top scientific jounal) has an IF of 38.597, Science has an IF of 31.027, Journal of the American Chemical Society is 10.077 (the top chemical journal), International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives (the top journal in my field) has an IF of 1.295 -- as you get more specialized the Impact Factor drops; it also drops if the journal is meaningless. Personality and Social Science Review has an IF of 6.07 -- that's pretty good and obviously has extensive peer review.

    coin: One of the foundations of Christian faith is that man, left to his own vices, will do evil. I tend to like the Buddist philosophy, that man is inherently good and without outside influence will do good.
     
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  9. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    There are "militant" atheists though, people who are actively trying to prove to anyone who listens that there is no God. I agree with The Great Snook that people like these are not much different from religious zealots.
     
  10. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    There are fanatics on all sides of arguments.... Unfortunately there are many in the media who want to assume the fanatic is representative of the group.
     
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  11. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    And it's a rare exception that any forum tolerates religious discussions. If SP were based in the USA, the Alleys would probably not exist, due to the high risk of litigation. And to keep evangelism out of US forums.

    I think the 'militant' atheists, those who believe the world can be changed with the right amount of poignant words, are just naive. If they end up making rude, insulting, or diminutive comments to theists in a discussion, then their approach is also completely wrong. I was like that when I first encountered religious viewpoints. But in the end, what do a person's beliefs matter? If they are productive and functional within society, they have just as much right to hold their views as I do. If I discuss religion, I prefer to direct my comments at the psychological mechanisms that I think religions employ, separating the people from the religion as much as possible. And also if possible, avoid naming any specific religions, because they're basically all the same when it comes down to the mechanisms of faith.

    Encouraging all people to think about the mechanisms of faith has a much better chance of getting people thinking, than attacking worshipers of any faith on their life choices. But maybe I'm still a bit naive myself..;)
     
  12. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    What? Litigation on what grounds? Besides, SP is based in the US, though the owner is not a citizen.
     
  13. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    I didn't know that. As for what grounds, the church of Scientology never had difficulty finding adequate grounds for pressing charges against their targets.

    Most gaming forums shy towards the side of caution, but the Alleys are still a beacon of open discussion.
     
  14. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    Pressing charges? I'm assuming you mean filing suit in civil court, but even that would be quite a stretch for a gaming forum. No incentive either, as you're not going to find many lawyers willing to sue an entity that does not have significant potential for collection.

    That's assuming you'd even find anything remotely litigation-worthy here, which I think is doubtful.
     
  15. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    That assumes that the litigation is intended for financial purposes, but religious entities on occasion will happily pay a lawyer to cripple a website that hosts discussions that are detrimental to their faith. And I believe some clients have forms of legal 'insurance' coverage that makes it a waste not to file a lawsuit, since it costs them nothing extra. But maybe that's just a myth.
     
  16. Arkite

    Arkite Crash or crash through Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I was just going to say something similar, I've had a lot of people knocking on the door trying to convert me to this or that, but never atheists :p
     
  17. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    Could not any school teacher be held to this? they attempt to convert you to the common language, to accepted mathematics, music, geography, I.T., literature, history - they attemot to convert you to these accepted ways of thinking and doing things, and if you resist you are punished.

    Scientology being brought up her reminded me of a quote I loved when I heared:
    I also love the phrase "millitant athiest"
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
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  18. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I would not compare religion to basic skills like reading, writing, logical thought, the scientific method and the traditional sciences. Did it even occur you that you probably wouldn't be able to argue in these forums if some teacher hadn't bothered "to convert you to the common language, to accepted mathematics, music, geography, I.T., literature, history"?

    Open atheism is young compared to Christianity or Islam. Give it several hundred years to spread and evolve and thanks to a few diseased minds perhaps we'll even start seeing atheist shooters. Perhaps not. I agree there are (or there will be) fanatics on all sides.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  19. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    For that to fly you'd still have to have an organization with substantial assets to pay for legal counsel (like the Catholic Church, not the First Apostolic Church of Ebenezer on 3rd St. and Farmer), and a case that has merit enough not to be thrown out in pre-litigation, which "a website said something I don't like" doesn't qualify for. Free speech is a pretty big trump card, so no judge is going to let a suit proceed that is based only on hurt feelings.

    Major corporations usually have attorneys/law firms on retainer, but I've never heard of one paying a ton of money up front and giving it up if its not used. A retainer fee is usually a fraction of the cost of bringing a suit, but it allows the corporation or individual easy and quick access to legal counsel when needed. If you're the type that often does need that, then its worth it, but costs are going to go up as services are rendered.
     
  20. Morgoroth

    Morgoroth Just because I happen to have tentacles, it doesn'

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    Well that has already happened. Two of the most prominent school shootings in Finland during the last decade were both performed by atheists. Together they killed 19 people.

    I don't have much else to contribute to this discussion. I think Shoshinos quite fitting picture of a militant agnostic more or less describes me and my general feelings. :p
     
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