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Losing Your Religion: Analytic Thinking Can Undermine Belief - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

If validated and replicated this is a solid ray of hope. If people can be taught analytical thinking they can be taught right out of delusion.

I think the percentage of those hanging on to intuitive thinking as their comfort zone/delusion state will still be high though.

I look forward to the critiques of this study I know are forthcoming.

Thu, 26 Apr 2012 22:42:05 UTC | #937568

JHJEFFERY's Avatar Comment 2 by JHJEFFERY

A series of new experiments shows that analytic thinking can override intuitive assumptions, including those that underlie religious belief.

Well that's a shocker. Are they paying people to come up with the obvious? Where do I sign up?

Thu, 26 Apr 2012 22:57:17 UTC | #937569

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 3 by Border Collie

Imagine that.

Thu, 26 Apr 2012 23:01:48 UTC | #937570

RobertJames's Avatar Comment 4 by RobertJames

I don't think you need the word analytic in that headline.

Thu, 26 Apr 2012 23:50:32 UTC | #937583

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 5 by Zeuglodon

One of their studies correlated measures of religious belief with people's scores on a popular test of analytic thinking. The test poses three deceptively simple math problems. One asks: "If it takes five machines five minutes to make five widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?" The first answer that comes to mind—100 minutes—turns out to be wrong. People who take the time to reason out the correct answer (five minutes) are, by definition, more analytical—and these analytical types tend to score lower on the researchers' tests of religious belief.

How much lower? What's the sample size? How do we know the one caused the other? Are analytical types more likely to become irreligious, or are irreligious people more likely to become analytical thinkers? If they don't make the distinction, this could be little more than noting a coincidence.

But the researchers went beyond this interesting link, running four experiments showing that analytic thinking actually causes disbelief. In one experiment, they randomly assigned participants to either the analytic or control condition. They then showed them photos of either Rodin's The Thinker or, in the control condition, of the ancient Greek sculpture Discobolus, which depicts an athlete poised to throw a discus. (The Thinker was used because it is such an iconic image of deep reflection that, in a separate test with different participants, seeing the statue improved how well subjects reasoned through logical syllogisms.) After seeing the images, participants took a test measuring their belief in God on a scale of 0 to 100. Their scores on the test varied widely, with a standard deviation of about 35 in the control group. But it is the difference in the averages that tells the real story: In the control group, the average score for belief in God was 61.55, or somewhat above the scale's midpoint. On the other hand, for the group who had just seen The Thinker, the resulting average was only 41.42. Such a gap is large enough to indicate a mild believer is responding as a mild nonbeliever—all from being visually reminded of the human capacity to think.

But the problem is that this doesn't explain which way the causal arrow flies. Did the "analytic" participants already have a skepticism for "god", and did they all agree on what "god" actually was? There was no test before the experiment to gauge their belief, and the large standard deviation suggests wildly varied answers that have a weak correlational link. The averages certainly diverge, but with such large standard deviations this counts for little beyond a possible scattershot effect that's been misinterpreted.

Another experiment used a different method to show a similar effect. It exploited the tendency, previously identified by psychologists, of people to override their intuition when faced with the demands of reading a text in a hard-to-read typeface. Gervais and Norenzayan did this by giving two groups a test of participants' belief in supernatural agents like God and angels, varying only the font in which the test was printed. People who took the belief test in the unclear font (a typewriterlike font set in italics) expressed less belief than those who took it in a more common, easy-to-read typeface. "It's such a subtle manipulation," Norenzayan says. "Yet something that seemingly trivial can lead to a change that people consider important in their religious belief system." On a belief scale of 3 to 21, participants in the analytic condition scored an average of almost two points lower than those in the control group.

Again, the same problems about no "god belief" test before the experiment, plus they don't specify where the points actually were. 14 to 16? 15 to 17? What if the participants simply interpreted the scale differently (that's one problem with asking for people to put themselves on a confidence scale)? I'm not currently impressed with the results of this test.

The researchers, for their part, point out that both reason and intuition have their place. "Our intuitions can be phenomenally useful," Gervais says,

Mostly because they, at least at one point, followed rational rules. Intuitions make more sense when you remember that they're the products of gene-centred evolution favouring survivability and reproductive capability. That's not to say they have to be flawless or can't have unintended side effects, especially when the evolved organisms exist in a new environment and their species hasn't fully adapted yet.

"and analytic thinking isn't some oracle of the truth."

Useful and accurate are two different things. Analytic thinking tends to be very good at getting at the truth. I'm pleased the psychologists didn't put in a religious or non-religious opinion either way (thus avoiding bias), but they'd have been better off not speaking about it at all.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 00:10:53 UTC | #937584

Owlglass's Avatar Comment 6 by Owlglass

Analytic Thinking Can Undermine Belief: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1Y73sPHKxw

Sorry, couldn't resist. ;)

I found it fascinating that a change of fonts can influence people to rethink ther beliefs. How great would it be, if athests would join believers when they give away copies of the bible, with the little twist that theirs is printed in some obscure 17th century font.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 00:28:55 UTC | #937588

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 7 by ZenDruid

The bottleneck is where the religious feel forced by rational thinking to abandon the happy-clappy tail-waggy feelgood "truth" around which their worldviews are assembled. In addition to positive thinking, some sort of 'truth fable' needs to be offered to fill the resultant gap in their psyche.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 01:13:04 UTC | #937592

tembuki's Avatar Comment 8 by tembuki

Comment 2 by JHJEFFERY Well that's a shocker. Are they paying people to come up with the obvious? Where do I sign up?

The LA Times ran this article under the far more entertaining headline:

"Thinking can undermine religious faith, study finds"

(http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-religion-analytical-thinking-20120427,0,5374010.story)

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 01:19:55 UTC | #937593

EtotheiPi's Avatar Comment 9 by EtotheiPi

To paraphrase Basil Fawlty: Next contestant, Marina Krakovsky. Specialist subject - the bleeding obvious.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 01:23:12 UTC | #937594

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 10 by QuestioningKat

I apologize for the long post, but I find this study fascinating.

Hopefully everyone here got the widget test correctly. To answer 100 seems as if those who answered 100 were looking for the most simple PATTERN instead of trying to understand that each machine takes 5 minutes to make one widget. 5,5,5 then it is assumed 100,100,100 This is the QUICK RESPONSE without any thought. I'm reminded of the question that asks if a boat is submerged two feet in 20 feet of water, how deep will the boat be submerged in 40 feet of water? People actually get this incorrect.

People who took the belief test in the unclear font (a typewriterlike font set in italics) expressed less belief than those who took it in a more common, easy-to-read typeface. "It's such a subtle manipulation," Norenzayan says. "Yet something that seemingly trivial can lead to a change that people consider important in their religious belief system."

So can I assume, if I design products with difficult to read fonts it will lead to analytical thinking which will then lead to non-belief? ;D

Actually, in general, people avoid purchasing products with lettering that is difficult to read especially when it is given to another person. Considering a shopper is walking down the aisle of a grocery store at a fairly rapid rate, as a designer, I'm likely to keep the type simple. If the lettering is not simple, something is probably done to draw in the customer - color, imagery, a large icon, or something else to give a quick impression. Even something elaborate can have a quality that gives an immediate impact. A bold object could have hairline details within the design; yet people will see the overall impression first.

This tactic of using simplified type is commonly used on billboard designs. If a car is traveling at 60mph, reading a decorative, serifed, or fine lined type is nearly impossible. Bold contrasting designs are more effective. They may not be aesthetically appealing, but they get the point across.

Products that are more carefully examined and thought over before purchasing tend to have more elaborate fonts, smaller sized lettering, lighter colors, etc. Walk into a small boutique and you will notice a difference in lettering, color, and design. Typically clothing, wallpaper, fabric, etc. can be more elaborate. More time is spent shopping and choosing. Also these products have more long term use, so people select more carefully.

This study made a light go off in my head. I just realized how I design products to quickly appeal to someone's pattern-seeking nature. I've always thought of designing as how to best communicate to someone in different circumstances or how to appeal to their tastes and it actually boils down to appealing to some evolutionary coping mechanism and way of understanding by seeking patterns. Geeez! Considering how I need to "dumb down" designs when the product is in a low end store, now says much about the people shopping there. (I hate to say this, but it is true. Point of sales statistics support this.) Not only is the product made cheaper, but the aesthetic quality tends to be less trendy, less innovative, more familiar, and more traditional.

It makes me wonder, do good Christians prefer Walmart? Perhaps atheists prefer Target. hehe Actually there is some statistics to show the former, but it could also be related to income and location.

I'm a little unsure about the "Thinker" vs. the "Discobolos" statue experiment. How would viewing the "Thinker" result in lower scores of unbelief? It seems as if the reason for the results are assumed. How could they conclude "all from being visually reminded of the human capacity to think." Are they sure this is what people thought? The "Thinker" is clearly more well-known and requires less consideration and examination - perhaps this is similar to people who prefer a licensed image of Cinderella over a generic princess image. The generic image requires the person to look more at the image and to make an individual value judgement different from popular tastes while the licensed image of Cinderella is already familiar and requires no thought so a decision can be made quickly.

I wonder if there are any studies that show that more automatic behavior is common among believers? Perhaps "quick" "automatic" and "easy to understand by identifying the pattern" is really what intuition is.

So can I assume, if I design products with difficult to read fonts it will lead to analytical thinking which will then lead to non-belief? ;D Actually, people avoid purchasing products will lettering that is difficult to read. Considering a shopper is walking down the aisle at a rapid rate, keep the type simple

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 01:28:43 UTC | #937596

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 11 by QuestioningKat

Comment 4 by RobertJames :

I don't think you need the word analytic in that headline.

I think "analytical" is crucial. Yes, this study seems incomplete, but being able to slow down and take something into consideration seems to make total sense. (At least to me, whatever that is worth. I was able to deconvert by taking a close look (analyzing) my beliefs one-by-one. ) Thinking is less spontaneous and less reactive and requires more observation, more comparison, more utilizing various information...

Thinking on your feet has it's place and purpose, but it tends to be less analytical and more responsive to situations.

Ugh! IGNORE THE LAST PARAGRAPH ON MY PREVIOUS POST. I just noticed that when I moved/pasted a comment that the original comment still existed below the scroll bar. Grrr!

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 01:40:42 UTC | #937598

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 12 by Premiseless

Which is why various religious memes have been adapting for centuries into every new science and culture they posit themselves. Emotional ritual: tribal identities from childbirth; ostracise if rebellious to bullshit; eliminate potential to get a partner; impose family rejection etc..

In other words: Make it the most rational solution to their survival that they STFU and eat bullshit a la carte.

Get rational to eat rational.

"Manuel, let me explain." (Here is my finger and there is your eye. I have more fingers should this not make it obvious.)

As Baldrick well knew, being fingered and acting unaware it is occurring is a rare art form.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 02:53:54 UTC | #937608

Micah V.'s Avatar Comment 13 by Micah V.

Huh, who woulda thought that thinking analytically might make you wonder how somebody can have a virgin birth or how talking back to your parents is enough to warrant your murder.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 02:53:55 UTC | #937609

JHJEFFERY's Avatar Comment 14 by JHJEFFERY

Comment 8 by tembuki

Comment 2 by JHJEFFERY Well that's a shocker. Are they paying people to come up with the obvious? Where do I sign up?

The LA Times ran this article under the far more entertaining headline:

"Thinking can undermine religious faith, study finds"

(http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-religion-analytical-thinking-20120427,0,5374010.story)

Yeah! Duh! Is there someone on this planet who thinks that thinking does not undermine woo?

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 03:05:55 UTC | #937610

dandelion fluff's Avatar Comment 15 by dandelion fluff

Comment 10 by QuestioningKat

The "Thinker" is clearly more well-known and requires less consideration and examination - perhaps this is similar to people who prefer a licensed image of Cinderella over a generic princess image.

It might depend on the test subjects. When I was young, in the late sixties/early seventies, the Discobolus image was at least as common as The Thinker, and I can see it in my head even now. But it is true, I don't remember seeing it at all in many years, while The Thinker seems to be spreading like a meme.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 03:12:12 UTC | #937611

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 16 by aquilacane

So I guess we'll need to start making extremely thought provoking billboards in hard to read fonts. Come to think of it, maybe there are so many atheists in New York because of all the graffiti. California too. I wonder what the graffiti to atheism ratio is?

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 04:35:35 UTC | #937615

SelfDTerminator's Avatar Comment 17 by SelfDTerminator

So, in addition to education and intelligence, an analytical mindset also undermines religion.

Kinda suggests that believers have 'gone full retard', in internet parlance.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 04:59:54 UTC | #937617

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 18 by strangebrew

"If God exists, and if believing in God is perfectly rational, then why does increasing rational thinking tend to decrease belief in God?"

Bingo!

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 06:39:55 UTC | #937626

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 19 by Jos Gibbons

You know how I normally quote the bits I think are wrong? I’m almost doing the opposite today. I love this article!

A series of new experiments shows that analytic thinking can override intuitive assumptions, including those that underlie religious belief

Including? It might have been fun to hear about some other examples. Does the hard font make people get the widgets question right more often.

The research does not take sides in the debate between religion and atheism

Its data sure does though! Of course, we mustn’t conflate “the data shows something” with “the researchers faked the data to make it come out that way”. Assuming research has the same bias as the slant of its findings is a common trick to dismiss anything you don’t like. You then deliberately don’t commit that fallacy for research that agrees with you (if there is any; if there isn’t you twist some to pretend that there is).

The test poses three deceptively simple math problems. One asks...

Is this the same research where another one was “a ball and bat have total cost $1.10 and the bat is $1 more expensive than the ball, so how much is the ball”? I remember hearing about that one. (I wonder whether religion correlates negatively with analytic thinking in general or just math skills.)

a mild believer is responding as a mild nonbeliever—all from being visually reminded of the human capacity to think.

Sweet. I wonder if audible reminders would do the same. “People can think. Do you believe in a god?” We need more research like this!

People who took the belief test in the unclear font (a typewriterlike font set in italics) expressed less belief than those who took it in a more common, easy-to-read typeface. "It's such a subtle manipulation," Norenzayan says. "Yet something that seemingly trivial can lead to a change that people consider important in their religious belief system." On a belief scale of 3 to 21, participants in the analytic condition scored an average of almost two points lower than those in the control group.

It always depresses me when we discover another way you shouldn’t be able to manipulate people’s behaviour, decisions or opinions, but you nonetheless can. (Maybe I shouldn’t read Cracked.) So, italics do it, huh? I wonder if the font choice would do it. If we want the next generation of kids to be atheists, is it worth campaigning to switch all the school textbooks to Bradley Hand ITC? Only more research will tell.

Any one of their experiments can be reinterpreted, but when you've got [multiple] different kinds of evidence pointing in the same direction, it's very impressive.

I get a little worried when I hear discussion of whether experimental results have alternative interpretations. Results falsify some hypotheses and not others, and all our results together also do this, and we should accept the most falsifiable hypothesis as yet unfalsified. I get the feeling in any case that a “here’s what prediction it makes, let’s check it” spirit animated all these experiments, so that’s good.

Ayala is surprised the effects are not even stronger. "You would expect that the people who challenge the general assumptions of their culture—in this case, their culture's religious beliefs—are obviously the people who are more analytical," he says.

Why is this guy religious or pro-religious if he admits that? As for being surprised the effects aren’t even stronger, this guy should spare us the “if there are any religious scientists at all religion’s OK” nonsense, as if the 7 % religiosity level of the NAS doesn’t speak volumes with how low it is. I think a religiosity difference of a third with one math problem, or cutting people’s religiosity a big fraction with a page of italics, is pretty difference.

Our intuitions can be phenomenally useful, and analytic thinking isn't some oracle of the truth.

Spare me your mealy-mouthed conciliation. The only conclusions that are reasonable are those which analytic thinking obtains.

Obviously, there are millions of very smart and generally rational people who believe in God. Obviously, this study doesn't prove the nonexistence of God. But it poses a challenge to believers: If God exists, and if believing in God is perfectly rational, then why does increasing rational thinking tend to decrease belief in God?

Exactly. We don’t need to prove there’s no god to prove a belief in a god is irrational, and if we prove the latter we thereby also prove people should ditch that belief.

Coming up next - my responses to some comments here.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 06:45:46 UTC | #937627

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 20 by aroundtown

"Obviously, this study doesn't prove the nonexistence of God.

Please get on with the one that does and the sooner the better.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 07:03:35 UTC | #937629

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 21 by Jos Gibbons

Several people have insulted this study for obvious findings. I hate it when people insult science like that. Here’s why it’s wrong:
(1) The truth is often counter-intuitive; we must use science to find answers before we pretend we think we know the right answer, no matter what the answer turns out to be.
(2) Usually, the claim a study’s finding was obvious is made based on a greatly simplified summary of the study as finding one aphorism rather than several technical statements. In this example, would you call it “obvious” people give less religious answers to a test written in italics? Maybe if you already knew the little-known facts that italics enhance analysis, but that’s not an “obvious” fact, which is why it’s little-known. I didn’t know it.
(3) We need to do these studies to know more detail than “A makes B more likely”. How much more likely? How does the answer to that question depend on other things? How important is A’s contribution to B, relative to that of other things? At what statistical significance level can we demonstrate any of this?
(4) What is obvious depends on who you are anyway.

Now on to some longer comments.

Comment #937584 by Zeuglodon

How much lower? What's the sample size? How do we know the one caused the other?

While those are important questions Scientific American should bother answering, I’m sure if we tracked down the original research the answers would be statistically satisfying. (In particular, remember what matters is not so much how big the gap is but how significant it is.)

If they don't make the distinction, this could be little more than noting a coincidence.

Be patient!

this doesn't explain which way the causal arrow flies. Did the "analytic" participants already have a skepticism for "god", and did they all agree on what "god" actually was? There was no test before the experiment to gauge their belief, and the large standard deviation suggests wildly varied answers that have a weak correlational link. The averages certainly diverge, but with such large standard deviations this counts for little beyond a possible scattershot effect that's been misinterpreted.

You’re making too many assumptions about the statistics here. Randomly assigning people to groups makes it unlikely, especially if they are large ones, that one group will start more analytic, or less religious, than the other; as far as we can tell, differences in either are caused by the test’s nature. Admittedly this article doesn’t mention any preliminary tests (which isn’t to say there weren’t any), but those can cause bias too. It is true the variance was large in at least one group, but in a big enough sample you can say at high statistical significance that a difference in means is well beyond what noise variances would likely cause. This fact about statistics is counter-intuitive, but true.

What if the participants simply interpreted the scale differently (that's one problem with asking for people to put themselves on a confidence scale)?

You’re assuming people are asked to score themselves. It’s possible they were asked objective questions and were scored on criteria they didn’t know. If you want to critique the journalistic utility of Scientific American, be my guest; if you want to debunk research you’ve not read, at least admit you’re guessing how it could be wrong if it was. You’re also conjecturing an inter-group difference that’s unlikely: why should random group A like to use bigger numbers than random group B?

I'm pleased the psychologists didn't put in a religious or non-religious opinion either way (thus avoiding bias), but they'd have been better off not speaking about it at all.

Are you saying they should never have done this research? I don’t think your sloppy attempts to debunk its findings substantiate such a position.

Comment #937596 by QuestioningKat

I'm reminded of the question that asks if a boat is submerged two feet in 20 feet of water, how deep will the boat be submerged in 40 feet of water? People actually get this incorrect.

What’s wrong with this species? (On a lighter note, a question just like that appears in one of the Professor Layton games, apparently.)

So can I assume, if I design products with difficult to read fonts it will lead to analytical thinking which will then lead to non-belief? ;D

At the moment we apparently just know that italics do it. But we need more study! Is the font important? The size? The colour? The character spacing? Sudden changes? We need to optimise writing!

Considering how I need to "dumb down" designs when the product is in a low end store, now says much about the people shopping there. (I hate to say this, but it is true. Point of sales statistics support this.)

Your vagueness confuses me. What is proven true about these people?

How would viewing the "Thinker" result in lower scores of unbelief? It seems as if the reason for the results are assumed. How could they conclude "all from being visually reminded of the human capacity to think." Are they sure this is what people thought?

I suppose technically not (although see my previous post’s discussion of “interpretation”), but do you have another explanation? (Not that the absence of such explanation validates theirs.)

I wonder if there are any studies that show that more automatic behavior is common among believers? Perhaps "quick" "automatic" and "easy to understand by identifying the pattern" is really what intuition is.   I’m not sure what difference there is, at any rate. “100,100,...100!”

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 07:12:32 UTC | #937631

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 22 by susanlatimer

Comment 10 by Questioning Kat

Hopefully everyone here got the widget test correctly.

My immediate thought was "five minutes" but then, I got confused by the question. I assumed that the original five machines made widgets concurrently (as machines are generally asked to do) but the question didn't state that. So, I had to wonder whether my assumption about the original five machines was correct. If they were asked to do it sequentially and the hundred machines were asked to do the same thing, my answer would have been different.

And (much less likely, in the context of a question), if the original five machines made widgets one at a time but the next hundred were asked to do it concurrently, I would have come up with an even different answer. OK. That last one was a stretch, but my brain forced me through all three scenarios. Thankfully, I couldn't think of any more. Well... maybe one more but I told myself to stop that immediately.

I wonder if they phrased the question exactly that way on the test. Because some of the responses might have been "Well, it depends." and I wonder if they allowed for that in the data entry portion or if the "What do you MEAN, exactly?" reaction would have just been another D/K.

On another subject, everyone here seems to know it's obvious that critical thinking leads us away from god(s) but much of the point of doing science is to investigate questions when we assume the answers are obvious. I'd rather have the data, just to be sure. Plus, theists think it's the other way round so what could be wrong with data?

Especially important is discovering the effect on the respondent of considering a pondering brain vs. a discus-throwing brain before being asked certain questions. And the effect of fonts on our beliefs. It's not exactly an exercise in investigating the obvious. How enlightening (though in some ways, obvious). These are imporant comparisons when studying what human brains do when faced with questions.

Worse yet, I then went through most of Zeuglodon's questions on my own before he even posted them. So, either we're both anal or this article was a little too vague. Now, I have to try to sift my way through scientific papers, and I'm not very fluent. Thanks a LOT. :-)

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 07:28:47 UTC | #937633

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 23 by Alan4discussion

Doubt is SIN! - Keep the faith!

Religious "analysis"?

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:03:36 UTC | #937647

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 24 by Stafford Gordon

Our twin daughters have A Levels in maths and further maths, and my wife is no slouch in that department, but when I look at a page of numbers I begin to go hot and cold in panic; but I have not a particle of religion in my being.

I think I'm probably suffering from mild dyscalculia; which is strange, since one of my maths teachers was Patrick Moore, a sweet man, who used to read stanzas of poetry to me, which I would recite back to him verbatim at the age of eight.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:12:29 UTC | #937649

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 25 by drumdaddy

Religion has survived for so very long precisely because people rarely think about it at all. The mysterious echoing sounds in a dark cave yield their wonder to a candle illuminating mere rats.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:35:47 UTC | #937652

William T. Dawkins's Avatar Comment 26 by William T. Dawkins

Comment Removed by Author

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:45:21 UTC | #937653

William T. Dawkins's Avatar Comment 27 by William T. Dawkins

The Thinker 41.42 Analytical Less Intuitive

Discobolus 61.55 Control More Intuitive

Therefore:

Tebow 0.0 Unresolved

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:51:53 UTC | #937655

mfothergill85's Avatar Comment 28 by mfothergill85

So taking things at face value leads you to a false impression of the way the world around you works? It is good that studies like this are done because evidence is required to show the origin of religion is more likely to be human-made.

I'm not sure what to do with the comment that intuitive thinking is useful, maybe it is, does that automatically give weight to some of the by products like superstition?

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:52:25 UTC | #937656

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 29 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 28 by mfothergill85 :

So taking things at face value leads you to a false impression of the way the world around you works? It is good that studies like this are done because evidence is required to show the origin of religion is more likely to be human-made.

I'm not sure what to do with the comment that intuitive thinking is useful, maybe it is, does that automatically give weight to some of the by products like superstition?

I keep plugging it, but Bruce Hood's book Supersense gives a scientific explanation for why we all have and use our intuition, and why it's responsible for superstition and religion. I wish this website would recognize the importance of this book in the theory of religion.

Comment 22 by susanlatimer

My immediate thought was "five minutes" but then, I got confused by the question.

The irony here is that you probably used your 'intuition' to get the correct answer. I think I did the same, but I had to check my intuition by thinking about it after. So I suspect that there is something wrong with such mind experiments.

Since I used to be a keen chess player, I 'honed' my intuition, which can work at levels matched by supercomputers. Our intuition is so incredibly powerful, but also can go terribly wrong.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 10:33:00 UTC | #937660

retep57's Avatar Comment 30 by retep57

worked for me, I was a hard core YEC fundie xian for decades, I tried to analyze the "obvious errors " in TGD and God is not great etc. naturally I "knew" that dawkins and hitchens were " of the devil" , the trouble (?) was, the more I tried to honestly analyze them... the more my (then) religious dogma crumbled . Now Richard and Chrsitopher and ( also Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett) are personal heroes of mine. no more dogma. yes, get the beleivers to analyze. worked for me, and again, thanks so much Richard et al.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 10:43:09 UTC | #937662