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Monthly Archives: February 2019

Study: Intimacy with God is driving the gender difference in biblical literalism

A new study sheds light on why women are more likely than men to believe the Bible is literally true. The research, which appears in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, found evidence that intimacy with God explained the gender gap in biblical literalism.

The researchers analyzed data from 1,394 respondents in the national Baylor Religion Survey’s third wave. They found that attachment to God and seeking to establish a stronger connection with God were both associated with more literal views of the Bible.

[…]

In other words, both men and women who took the Bible more literally were more likely to say they had “a warm relationship with God” and reported spending more time alone praying and reading the Bible. But women tended to report both stronger attachments to God and spending more time attempting to connect with God, which explained their higher rates of biblical literalism.

“We found that while it’s true women take the Bible more literally than men, once attachment to God is accounted for that relationship disappears. So it’s really intimacy with God driving this difference, not gender per se,” Kent told PsyPost.

Read more at PsyPost

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Posted by on February 27, 2019 in religion

 

What’s the most insanely misguided belief you’ve heard from someone who claims it’s 100% fact?

All of the misguided beliefs I’ve heard share one thing in common: These people are trying to use moral, ethical, or political frameworks to try to model and predict the world. It just doesn’t work that way.

Flat earthers think the world governments are trying to pull a fast one over everybody for nefarious reasons. This means that believing in a flat earth is a moral position; taken in opposition to evil hegemonic powers.

Anti-vaxxers think that Big Pharma is evil. This means that being an anti-vaxxer is a moral position; taken in opposition to evil hegemonic powers.

Chemtrail believers… again, believing in chemtrails is a moral position; taken in opposition to evil hegemonic powers.

9/11 Truthers… again, believing in 9/11 truth is a moral position; taken in opposition to evil hegemonic powers.

Moon landing hoaxers… again, believing in the moon landing hoax is a moral position; taken in opposition to evil hegemonic powers.

That’s why I consider them “misguided”. Moral theories are prescriptions for how people should behave, not descriptions of the world. Chances are, if you’re using a moral theory to try to predict how the world works, you will not only be wrong, but you will refuse any evidence that doesn’t fit in your moral framework because allowing this evidence to change your mind is “immoral”.

Indeed, all of these are oppressor vs. the oppressed narratives. When used to model the world, they will lead to delusion, since any evidence or model that doesn’t fit into the oppressor/oppressed narrative necessarily undermines it… which gives power to the oppressor and therefore this evidence or model is immoral.

Evolutionary biology? Things like dinosaur bones were put in the Earth by Satan (i.e., an evil hegemon) to turn you into an atheist (i.e., being an atheist is immoral). Psychology and psychiatry? A ploy by body Thetans to keep you in bondage to Xenu’s hegemony. Barack Obama birthism? A ploy by evil democrats (i.e., an evil hegemony) to put a Muslim (an immoral religion) in the White House. Evolutionary psychology? A ruse created by white heteropatriarchy (an evil hegemony) to keep women, non-straight, trans, and people of color down.

Using your morals to inform empirical reality is the root of almost all human cognitive biases. Moral intuitions come first, strategic reasoning comes after[1][2][3]. The biggest clashes between morality and empirical reality result in the most tenaciously held yet misguided beliefs, and will almost always be the cases where the scientific method is used to study and uncover the nature of humanity.

I don’t have to tell you that quite a few people — secular or religious — who use their personal moral intuitions (quite literally just another way to say “their cognitive biases”) to model the world think that the scientific method is immoral.

Footnotes

[1] Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind: Robert Kurzban: 9780691154398: Amazon.com: Books

[2] The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion: Jonathan Haidt: 9780307455772: Amazon.com: Books

[3] The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life 1, Kevin Simler, Robin Hanson – Amazon.com

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2019 in cognitive science, morality, Quora answers, religion

 

Psychology’s favourite moral thought experiment doesn’t predict real-world behaviour

Would you wilfully hurt or kill one person so as to save multiple others? That’s the dilemma at the heart of moral psychology’s favourite thought experiment and its derivatives. In the classic case, you must decide whether or not to pull a lever to divert a runaway mining trolley so that it avoids killing five people and instead kills a single individual on another line. A popular theory in the field states that, to many of us, so abhorrent is the notion of deliberately harming someone that our “deontological” instincts deter us from pulling the lever; on the other hand, the more we intellectualise the problem with cool detachment, the more likely we will make a utilitarian or consequentialist judgment and divert the trolley.

just under 200 of the participants were invited to the psych lab, one at a time, to take part in a real-life moral dilemma involving live mice. The participants saw two cages – one housing one mouse, the other housing five – each wired to an electroshock machine. They were told that in 20 seconds, if they did nothing, the machine would deliver a very painful but nonlethal shock to the cage containing five mice. However, if the participants pressed a button in front of them, they could divert the electric shock to the cage containing one mouse, thus saving the other five from pain

The participants who performed the real-life mouse task behaved differently than those who made a purely hypothetical decision – they were less than half as likely to let the five mice get shocked (16 per cent of them left the button unpressed compared with 34 per cent of the hypothetical group). In other words, faced with a real-life dilemma, the volunteers were more consequentialist / utilitarian; that is, more willing to inflict harm for the greater good.

Read more at BPS

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2019 in cognitive science

 
 
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