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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 06:26 PM

Queen's study finds religion helps us gain self-control

http://www.queensu.ca/news/articles/queens-study-finds-religion-helps-us-gain-self-control
Queen's study finds religion helps us gain self-control

2012-01-24

Thinking about religion gives people more self-control on later, unrelated tasks; according to results from a series of recent Queen’s University study.

“After unscrambling sentences containing religiously oriented words, participants in our studies exercised significantly more self-control,” says psychology graduate student and lead researcher on the study, Kevin Rounding.

Study participants were given a sentence containing five words to unscramble. Some contained religious themes and others did not. After unscrambling the sentences, participants were asked to complete a number of tasks that required self-control – enduring discomfort, delaying gratification, exerting patience, and refraining from impulsive responses.

Participants who had unscrambled the sentences containing religious themes had more self-control in completing their tasks.

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Reply Queen's study finds religion helps us gain self-control (Original post)
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 OP
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #1
cbayer Jan 2012 #2
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #4
mr blur Jan 2012 #3
Goblinmonger Jan 2012 #5
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #6
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #8
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #23
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #27
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #28
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #29
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #36
cbayer Jan 2012 #30
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #44
cbayer Jan 2012 #45
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #61
cbayer Jan 2012 #71
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #75
cbayer Jan 2012 #76
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #31
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #77
mr blur Jan 2012 #34
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #7
Goblinmonger Jan 2012 #12
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #14
Goblinmonger Jan 2012 #15
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #17
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #24
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #32
cbayer Jan 2012 #38
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #40
cbayer Jan 2012 #42
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #43
cbayer Jan 2012 #46
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #47
cbayer Jan 2012 #50
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #53
cbayer Jan 2012 #54
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #60
LeftishBrit Jan 2012 #49
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #52
LeftishBrit Jan 2012 #66
pinto Jan 2012 #9
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #11
pinto Jan 2012 #13
Goblinmonger Jan 2012 #16
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #18
Goblinmonger Jan 2012 #19
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #20
Goblinmonger Jan 2012 #21
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #22
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #25
LeftishBrit Jan 2012 #70
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #73
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #37
cbayer Jan 2012 #39
Goblinmonger Jan 2012 #63
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #68
cbayer Jan 2012 #74
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #78
LeftishBrit Jan 2012 #67
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #35
Jim__ Jan 2012 #10
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #26
Jim__ Jan 2012 #33
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #41
Jim__ Jan 2012 #59
MarkCharles Jan 2012 #62
Jim__ Jan 2012 #65
LeftishBrit Jan 2012 #48
cbayer Jan 2012 #51
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #55
cbayer Jan 2012 #57
cleanhippie Jan 2012 #58
Goblinmonger Jan 2012 #64
LeftishBrit Jan 2012 #69
cbayer Jan 2012 #72
pinto Jan 2012 #56
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2012 #79

Response to OKIsItJustMe (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 06:55 PM

1. Nothing like making great leaps of faith in order to...

 

come up with the desired conclusion, namely:

"religion helps us gain self-control"

This "study" is a great example of how a poorly constructed "experiment" can fail to take into account so many other variables among the participants. Simple variables like age, verbal intelligence level, time of day and relative initial comfort of participants, to name just a few.

The report from the link fails to mention such critical information as:

number of participants, (2 or 2000?)

ages and similarities of participants, (are they 15 or 65?, college students or prisoners?)

religious background and training of participants, (or are any them not religiously affiliated at all?)

or even what the specific frustration tasks such as the "enduring discomfort" or "delayed gratification" actually were.

In other words, how do we know that the participants were all "otherwise equal" in abilities to perform any and all of these tasks?

Sounds like pseudo-science, at best, to me, and a very poorly constructed example at that.

There is also no link to the peer review of this study.

So I did a little Googling: I found Kevin Rounding, PhD candidate at Queens University, where he lists his already formed conclusions on none other than his own Linkedin page.

"In a secondary line of research, I study the influence of religion on flourishing and positive outcomes despite negative developmental trajectories. I am interested in how religion serves to buffer against the deleterious effects of parental depression and uncertainty regarding social interactions, and serves as a catalyst in the formation and strengthening of ego resources. By serving to moderate negative outcomes, and mediating negative relationships, religiosity is a powerful influence in people's lives, providing comfort and a source of self-control."

http://ca.linkedin.com/in/kevinrounding

If this experiment were presented as part of a Ph.D. thesis, it would be torn apart for sloppiness of design.

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Response to MarkCharles (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:18 PM

2. You are right. There is very little information here about the study itself.

I did find a better report of the study in a peer reviewed journal. The results are reported as preliminary and the experiments ongoing. The main researcher's statement above does read more like a foregone conclusion than a hypothesis he wishes to test.


http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/were-only-human/why-do-we-have-religion-anyway.html

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Response to cbayer (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 09:37 AM

4. It’s amazing what you can find if you bother to look. (Isn’t it?)

From the original press release:


“Until now, I believed religion was a matter of faith; people had little ‘practical’ use for religion,” Mr. Rounding explains. “This research actually suggests that religion can serve a very useful function in society. People can turn to religion not just for transcendence and fears regarding death and an after-life but also for practical purposes.”

Other members of the research team include psychology graduate student Albert Lee and Queen’s professors Jill Jacobson and Li-Jun Ji. The study was published in Psychological Science.

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Response to MarkCharles (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 04:52 AM

3. + 1 (nt)

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Response to OKIsItJustMe (Original post)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 10:03 AM

5. So this really doesn't show that religion does anything, does it?

It just shows the effect of unscrambling religious themes. Did he test other non-religious philosophical themes? Perhaps unscrambling some Goethe would help in self-control, too.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 10:26 AM

6. There are so many faults in the construction of this "experiment".

 

If this were an actual experiment, it would have to be conducted in a "double blind" fashion. That is: both all participants and all observers of the subsequent behaviors would be done by people who did NOT know which participants got which phrases to unscramble.

Of course, the most outrageous part of this "study" is the huge leap from a simple observation of the rather inconsequential behaviors of a group participants all the way to a wildly speculative conclusion that religion "helps us gain self-control". Another equally outrageous leap would have been to claim that "religion dulls the level of interest and involvement in certain tasks". Of course, neither speculation is a scientific "conclusion", simply an unsubstantiated speculation, or merely product of wishful thinking.

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Response to MarkCharles (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 11:05 AM

8. How about a little common sense?

At the core of most religions is some sort of code of conduct (e.g. “The Law of Moses,” “Sharia law,” Buddhism’s “Five Precepts,” Confucianism’s “Five Constants,” Taoism’s “Three Treasures.”)

Of course religion is (at least in part) about self-control.

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Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 06:31 PM

23. A little fable perpetuated by religions as to what they CLAIM TO...

 

be, is not, in the LEAST WAY, "common sense", nor anything related to actual "scientific" facts.

I really wish religious minds would try to focus more precisely, to b e able to separate what those thousands of religious fables, fairy tales and half truths have filled their minds, separate them from actual rational thinking.

This "Common sense" you claim, "Of course religion is (at least in part) about self-control" is nothing but what you have learned and CLAIM religion to be about. There is no science, there is the FABLE that "religion is, (at least in part) about self-control".

There is no scientific evidence to prove this, indeed there are literally MILLIONS of incidents where individuals and groups of people who CLAIM to be "religious" have LOST THEIR SELF CONTROL ! Those incidents are as anecdotal as those incidents where people CLAIM that their "religion" has something to do with their self control.

An analytic mind would be able to tell the difference between assertions of causal relationships and actual data that support direct cause/effect phenomena. Religious wishful thinking only serves to clog and fog up the religious believer's mind, and render them incapable of making the critical distinctions between direct evidence of cause/effect relationships, and what MIGHT WELL BE merely statistical patterns, (with any number of possible causes), one way or another.

Religious minds often seem incapable of doing the work of the critical thinking to sort out such issues, and merely rely upon simplistic expressions like "common sense" or "I just believe it's so, and no one can convince me otherwise".

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Response to MarkCharles (Reply #23)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 10:10 AM

27. Wow!

I honestly don’t know why you’re so incensed!

Let’s try this on for size:
A variety of religions are practiced by a large number of people in the world. The principles of natural selection seem to extend to ideas as well as to other traits (see “memetics.”) The widespread nature of religion suggests that there is some natural selection for it. (Just as there appears to be for altruism.)

However, given the diversity of religious thought, it does not appear that there is an overwhelmingly positive selection for one particular strain of religious thought over others. (For example, there does not appear to be a deity actively exterminating infidels.)


This research explores a simple idea regarding the selection for religion. It does not (for example) suggest that there is a God, who is pleased by faith, and rewards the faithful. It simply suggests that religion might aid self control.

The teaching of self control appears to be fundamental to most (if not all) strains of religious teaching (e.g. the “Ethic of Reciprocity.”)

One does not need to be a deist to accept the ethic of reciprocity, but, certainly, you can see that those deists who believe in a deity who rewards those who faithfully follow the ethic, and/or punishes those who do not, might reinforce the tendency to follow it, benefiting the group.


Why do you find that so upsetting?

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Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #27)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 10:29 AM

28. I am NOT "incensed", (in fact I don't use incense)....

 

I am merely pointing out that there are many myths, fables, anecdotes, wive's tales and "traditional beliefs" that have no scientific basis, and are perhaps as often false or misleading.

I want sincerely religious believers to be able to employ the scientific method, rigorously, and honestly, and not rely upon their presumptions, their "beliefs" nor to assert that there their "hypotheses" are now "scientific theories".

Here is an example of an hypothesis: "The widespread nature of religion suggests that there is some natural selection for it. (Just as there appears to be for altruism.)"

That is all it is. There is no evidence offered for the truth of the matter. It is an hypothesis, a "suggestion".

Now one has to link that with the evidence in order to arrive at a truth. That is what the scientific methodology would require , in contrast to a widely held "belief" in the truth of the "suggestion". By use of the term "natural selection", you are employing what is a scientific concept, in a suggestive way, not a scientific way. The statement you have made begs the question: how do we "know"? The answer is: we do not "know", but some people simply want to "believe" it's true

NO I cannot see this assertion you have made:

" but, certainly, you can see that those deists who believe in a deity who rewards those who faithfully follow the ethic, and/or punishes those who do not, might reinforce the tendency to follow it, benefiting the group. "

History is replete with hundreds of examples of people whose belief in a deity led them to sacrifice a child on an altar, to go to war, to seek deadly and disastrous retribution against other tribes or other cultures. Hitler, himself, claimed a belief in god, so no, your assertion is not anywhere close to a truism, and certainly NOT scientifically based. It is only your assertion, based upon selectively chosen historical evidence. You are free to believe it, but it is not scientific fact, nor anything close to a "fact".

This is the intention on my post, not to be "incensed", I wish to point out foggy thinking and belief systems are nowhere near the level of rigorous and disciplined kinds of thinking that actual scientific investigation and discovery requires. I hope many religious believers can learn to employ the scientific method of thinking, and learn to distinguish between what is their "belief" and what might be "scientific fact".

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Response to MarkCharles (Reply #28)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:03 PM

29. The convention I learned years ago was the the use of all capitals was reserved for “shouting”

In the posting I replied to, a number of things were in all caps (e.g. “LOST THEIR SELF CONTROL !”)

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incense
…transitive verb
  1. archaic : to cause (a passion or emotion) to become aroused
  2. to arouse the extreme anger or indignation of

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #29)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:32 PM

    36. Again, your "convention" which you learned "years ago" is not

     

    a fact. It is a custom, and an opinion.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #27)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:17 PM

    30. Just a thought here, but once someone has called another person's

    set of beliefs fables, half truths and fairy tales,

    and stated that those beliefs just clog and fog one's mind,

    and state that religious minds are incapable of critical thinking,

    the likelihood of having a productive discussion go way down.



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    Response to cbayer (Reply #30)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:17 PM

    44. I appreciate how some may feel insulted by descriptions

     

    of what makes up many religious beliefs, and what phenomena can go on when people use religiously-based beliefs to stand in the way of actual scientific fact-finding.

    Let's just look at some examples. The belief in a geocentric universe, and the punishment Galileo suffered as a result of religious belief clouding and fogging a mind as great as the Pope.

    Another example would be Mormonism's teachings about black people before 1974.

    Religious belief today that gay people are under the spell of Satan.

    Would you prefer we call them "fables" or "fairy tales" or "wives' tales" or just plain bunk?

    There are thousands of religious beliefs and other "customs" and "wives' tales" that have been challenged by science. I suspect hundreds more of them remain in practice, and many religious believers hold those beliefs as if they were scientific facts.

    I have never said that scientific thinking CANNOT take place in the minds of religious believers, but we have lots of evidence from history and from right here, that there is a willingness to place religious beliefs in front of actual scientific evidence and to use it to confuse and confound the rigorous discipline which makes up sound scientific investigation. (Example: having a belief in the power of religion and wishing to test for truth, without proper neutral observations or null set placebo controls).

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    Response to MarkCharles (Reply #44)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:28 PM

    45. I don't think you appreciate it at all. It appears your intent is to insult

    and not to promote discussion.

    I have not seen any evidence here that DU members are willing to place religious beliefs before actual scientific evidence.

    Your pointing out that there is no report (yet) of the methods used in this study is accurate. Your follow up conclusions that because that information is not available, no neutral or null set placebo controls were used is not.

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #45)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:41 PM

    61. That is your opinion of my "intent" but I disagree. Actually, I think

     

    you and I have agreed and not agreed beforehand. I am sorry if two members of DU see each other's intentions so differently, simply because we hold differing opinions.

    I see no science here, and I state it, I see wishful thinking about a desired result, and phony science being staged to prop up the wished-for results.

    As a long-time defender of rigorous use of proper scientific investigative techniques and procedures, I feel that I must speak up when such procedures are so blatantly violated for any desired agenda. I have spent half a lifetime teaching people proper ethical techniques in the social sciences, from research into education to racial and ethnic sociological investigations. I do not take kindly when I see such procedures so flagrantly violated over any system of prior beliefs.

    If you wish to project your feelings of being insulted from my word choices, project them upon my "intent", you are free to do so, and I disagree, of course. You are free to believe whatever you like about me and what I state. You are also free to ignore my posts, to confront them with actual facts, or to move on to posts more "friendly" to your own opinions and beliefs.

    If you have not "seen any evidence here that DU member are willing to place religious beliefs before actual scientific evidence", then I suggest you read the original post here, and several others in this thread, such as:

    "They’ve done some simple experiments, which lend some credence to the theory." in post number 20.

    They have done no such thing as "simple experiments" in a scientific framework. They have set up stawman hypotheses, and "suggestions" and arrived at premature conclusions based upon their own bias.

    You might not agree, but I state what I do with some background in the field of scientific research methodologies.

    Or you might look at THIS statement by the very person conducting this "study"(found in post#4)“This research actually suggests that religion can serve a very useful function in society. People can turn to religion not just for transcendence and fears regarding death and an after-life but also for practical purposes.”

    The "research" suggests no such thing. It suggests the researcher has a solid bias and agenda, and takes results he got from a faulty experiment structure and goes all the way to the 100 yard goal post to proudly state: "People can turn to religion not just for transcendence and fears regarding death and an after-life but also for practical purposes."

    Here, again, are two examples of non-scientific wishful thinking being equated with scientific conclusive evidence. The evidence is flawed by a faulty technique, as well as by prior bias of the researcher, stated on his own Linked-in web site page.

    I am sorry if you feel the need to impugn my motives here. But you are free to think of me whatever you wish. I don't wish to argue with a fellow DU'er over the need for rigorous scientific research methodologies, yet I won't allow wild claims of "scientific" validity as to the value of religion to go unchallenged, particularly when they are based upon rather questionable research methodologies and already evident bias on the part of the researcher.

    I think we all should make a mental note of this Ph.D. candidate at Queens University. He might crop up a couple years from now proclaiming some new "evidence" of his own beliefs. What is already evident is that he cannot summarize his already faulty work in frameworks other than proclamations in his own words as to the value of religion. I hope someone up there at Queens University gets around to teaching him impartiality before awarding him a Ph.D.

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    Response to MarkCharles (Reply #61)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 03:41 PM

    71. I appreciate your thoughtful response.

    You here and elsewhere have made some very valid points about scientific method, it's use and misuse and, sometimes, the general disregard of it.

    I have no argument with you there. I am also a scientist. My only objection to some of the statements you were making here is that there is nothing to base an evaluation of the methods on. The actual study has not been released, only a brief press release. You could be very correct that this is sloppy and not to be taken seriously, but I would withhold judgement until I had more data.

    You are absolutely right about those that use poor tools to try and prove their forgone conclusions. That's always a problem. As I noted previously, the primary author's statement seems to belie an preconceived conclusion, and that's never good in scientific research. But, again, I haven't seen the actual study, so I'm not sure what to conclude.

    I enjoy discussing things with you at times. I do not enjoy it when the terms you use are vitriolic, broad brush and insulting to others that see some things differently than you do. Is your position about religion not dissimilar to the bias you see displayed by the primary investigator here? Have you not already reached your conclusion about religions and religious people? I realize that no one has given you any data that would lead you to believe that there might be something greater (whatever we want to call it), but I will also observe that no one has offered enough evidence to disprove it either, imo.

    I don't really understand those that need to convince believers that they are wrong or otherwise flawed. They can take the same position you do - until someone can offer vigorous scientific evidence that the hypothesis they hold is unequivocally untrue, they are within their rights to continue to hold them.

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #71)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 04:28 PM

    75. Thank you for a very respectful response, I will continue to read your...

     

    objections to my posts as long as you care to make them.

    Now it's time for lunch, and I will be back with you later if I have more thoughts.

    You ask a good question: do I have a bias against religion and why? What is my "evidence against"?

    I will think about that. Oh yes, I have "evidence" against, but do I have "evidence" for? Am I being selective?

    I will think about that.

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    Response to MarkCharles (Reply #75)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 04:31 PM

    76. Enjoy your lunch, Mr. Charles.

    I just did my yoga and am feeling nicely calmed.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #8)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:26 PM

    31. Well, religion IS about control, but it's just not SELF control.

    I'm sure you can figure out just what kind of control it offers.

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    Response to cleanhippie (Reply #31)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 04:35 PM

    77. We can surely see "evidence" of mental status changes...

     

    in various religious followers' brain patterns, breathing, ability to stay underwater, basic physiological measures.

    There's lots of "evidence" of this from all over the world, numerous studies, I haven't read many, but many are well constructed.

    So, now, the ultimate question, are people who are "religiously inclined" more "physiologically" ammenable to learning how to control their breath, walk over hot coals, etc.?

    Or did the religion they learned teach them that?

    The same question could be asked of our participant in this experiment, but, unfortunately we don't know a single thing about the population being observed, no age, gender, education, location, etc. We know NOTHING about the people being studied.

    We could assume that non-smokers do better at tests at 75 than smokers, but we would have to test for that, too. If this "experiment" were carried out with 75 year old smokers, I doubt we would get much positive results.....no matter what their religious beliefs. But that's just a guess, based upon my knowledge of smoking and it's effects upon old people.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #8)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:30 PM

    34. Self-control through fear, you mean?

    To paraphrase your second sentence, "Of course religion is (at least in part) about control.

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    Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #5)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 10:58 AM

    7. “Thinking about religion gives people more self-control…”

    http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/were-only-human/why-do-we-have-religion-anyway.html
    … A team of psychological scientists at Queen’s University, Ontario, is now offering a novel idea about the origin of religion, and what’s more they’re delivering some preliminary scientific evidence to support their reasoning. Researcher Kevin Rounding and his colleagues are arguing that the primary purpose of religious belief is to enhance the basic cognitive process of self-control, which in turn promotes any number of valuable social behaviors.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #7)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 12:36 PM

    12. I get that that is what they are saying

    I'm just indicating that it doesn't look like they have NEAR the necessary controls to make a claim any where close to that.

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    Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #12)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 01:24 PM

    14. I believe that’s why they called it, “preliminary scientific evidence”

    As opposed to proof (for example.)

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #14)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:05 PM

    15. I think that is a vast overclaim, too.

    They have test for no other options. Perhaps unscrambling pithy Mark Twain epithets would help with self-control, too. They have no idea. Perhaps it is just that there is some sort of meaning to those could help it, too. Other studies indicate that self-control is a limited thing, so maybe they don't use any of it up with something that they already know.

    To call it scientific evidence is a little bold.

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    Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #15)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:17 PM

    17. Wow!

    Talk about making unwarranted claims! You apparently didn’t even read the 4 paragraph excerpt!


    Study participants were given a sentence containing five words to unscramble. Some contained religious themes and others did not. After unscrambling the sentences, participants were asked to complete a number of tasks that required self-control – enduring discomfort, delaying gratification, exerting patience, and refraining from impulsive responses.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #17)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 06:38 PM

    24. We read the paragraphs, we were not convinced that there is any...

     

    causal relationship demonstrated, among a thousand or so other possible variables.

    Perhaps a little investigation in the nature of constructing experiments into human behaviors would be of benefit to some here who seem totally unschooled in the proper construction of what is a "scientific" experiment. The report on this activity at Queens University is a report about a very flawed and therefore "UN-scientific" experiment.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #14)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:27 PM

    32. Considering that they did NOT utilize the "scientific method" at all, it is hardly "scientific"

    evidence.

    It's pseudo-science, at best.

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    Response to cleanhippie (Reply #32)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:33 PM

    38. As MarkCharles correctly pointed out above, there is no information available

    at this time as to what methods they have used. These broad assumptions about what they have and have not done in their experiments is totally bogus.

    The study is underway, the results are preliminary and the reports are simply early reviews of the results.

    So how do you know they didn't use the "scientific method"?

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #38)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:44 PM

    40. Its the broad-brush assumptions about what the "study" reveals that is bogus.

    To make such claims, as the "researchers" did, is NOT how the scientific method works. Thats how I know.

    This is 7th grade science knowledge, cbayer. Here are some links to help get you up to speed, if you want to know more.

    http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy_labs/appendixe/appendixe.html
    http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_scientific_method.shtml
    http://sciencefairproject.virtualave.net/scientific_method.htm

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    Response to cleanhippie (Reply #40)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:05 PM

    42. You really shouldn't question my credentials as a scientists, ch.

    Take my word for it.

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #42)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:15 PM

    43. Then you really shouldn't make claims that this study followed the scientific method.

    take my word for it.

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    Response to cleanhippie (Reply #43)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:31 PM

    46. I have made no such claims and have no basis to make such claims.

    You really shouldn't make claims that this study didn't follow the scientific method, as that information is not available at this time.

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #46)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:37 PM

    47. I made an observation based on the available info.

    Do think, based on the available info, that the scientific method was used?

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    Response to cleanhippie (Reply #47)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:49 PM

    50. I have no idea. They have not yet published their study and there is not information

    on their methods that I can find.

    But, it's a reputable institution with an excellent track record, so I suspect they did. Also, a respected peer reviewed journal reported the preliminary results, so I doubt this is just some goofy grad student who didn't use recognized experimental models.

    But, again, no one is in a position to evaluate that before the study is actually published.

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #50)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:59 PM

    53. Then you can consider my opinion to be preliminary

    Based on the preliminary results that were released and reported in the article.

    This is a discussion board, right? We are discussing what was presented for discussion by the OP.

    If you feel that there is not enough info to have a meaningful discussion, perhaps your admonishment should be reserved for the OP for posting such a poorly informed article in the first place, no?

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    Response to cleanhippie (Reply #53)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:02 PM

    54. No

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #54)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:29 PM

    60. Uhm, okay then.

    If you feel that there IS enough info in the OP to have a discussion, then kindly stop admonishing my attempts to discuss it.

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    Response to cleanhippie (Reply #40)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:47 PM

    49. To be fair on the researchers...

    press releases about scientific studies often get them VERY garbled. Both as regards their methodologies, and as regards their conclusions.

    It may well be that these sweeping conclusions were made by the reporters; and that the main mistake of the researchers was that they didn't insist on seeing a draft report before it went to press.

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    Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #49)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:52 PM

    52. I agree. But this is a discussion board.

    And we are having a discussion that was prompted by the OP and the limited information it contained.

    The poster had a reason to post this, we must assume that they wanted to discuss the article. That's what we are doing, no?

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    Response to cleanhippie (Reply #52)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 03:13 PM

    66. Of course

    I wasn't saying otherwise. My 'dog in the race' is simply that I am a researcher myself, and, like other researchers whom I know, I have occasionally had my conclusions distorted by reporters.

    My comments on this thread come from this perspective. I entirely agree, and have said in another post, that the study does NOT demonstrate that being religious causes generally greater self-control.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Original post)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 12:13 PM

    9. Couldn't the mere process of unscrambling a jumbled sentence, any sentence,

    lead to a similar result? Increased focus, self-control. Maybe it's the process that's important here, not the content.

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    Response to pinto (Reply #9)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 12:23 PM

    11. From the OP



    Study participants were given a sentence containing five words to unscramble. Some contained religious themes and others did not. After unscrambling the sentences, participants were asked to complete a number of tasks that required self-control – enduring discomfort, delaying gratification, exerting patience, and refraining from impulsive responses.

    Participants who had unscrambled the sentences containing religious themes had more self-control in completing their tasks.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #11)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 12:52 PM

    13. Ah, missed that. Thanks.

    Agree with Goblinmonger about the lack of controls.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #11)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:06 PM

    16. So some sentences were familiar and some were not? n/t

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    Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #16)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:22 PM

    18. Why are you so desperate?

    No claims were made here regarding rigorous experimental evidence:

    http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/were-only-human/why-do-we-have-religion-anyway.html
    The vast majority of the world’s 7 billion people practice some kind of religion, ranging from massive worldwide churches to obscure spiritual traditions and local sects. Nobody really knows how many religions there are on the planet, but whatever the number, there are at least that many theories about why we have religion at all. One idea is that, as humans evolved from small hunter-gatherer tribes into large agrarian cultures, our ancestors needed to encourage cooperation and tolerance among relative strangers. Religion then—along with the belief in a moralizing God—was a cultural adaptation to these challenges.

    But that’s just one idea. There are many others—or make up your own. But they are all just theories. None has been empirically tested. A team of psychological scientists at Queen’s University, Ontario, is now offering a novel idea about the origin of religion, and what’s more they’re delivering some preliminary scientific evidence to support their reasoning. Researcher Kevin Rounding and his colleagues are arguing that the primary purpose of religious belief is to enhance the basic cognitive process of self-control, which in turn promotes any number of valuable social behaviors.

    They tested this theory in four fairly simple experiments


    From the way you carry on, you’d think they’d claimed to have conclusively proven the existence of a divinity or something.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #18)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:25 PM

    19. Why are you so desperate?

    They say they have found "preliminary scientific evidence" for something. I am stating, and giving reasons why, that is seriously an over claim. You are the one trying, for some reason, to argue otherwise. Do you disagree with me? If not, then stop disagreeing with me. If you do, expect me to retort. That's pretty simple debate structure, isn't it?

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    Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #19)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:33 PM

    20. It’s really not some earth-shattering theory

    They’ve done some simple experiments, which lend some credence to the theory. They haven’t made any extravagant claims.

    You’re trying to argue against them, but you clearly haven’t even bothered to read (or did not comprehend) a 4 paragraph excerpt from a press release which briefly describes the research.

    That’s why I say you’re desperate.

    My only question is why are you so desperate?

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #20)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 02:52 PM

    21. They throw around words that don't mean what they think they mean

    Just like you calling this a theory. It isn't a theory. It is a pretty poorly constructed hypothesis which certainly has pre-experiment bias built into it and has been test with poor controls.

    I understood things just fine. What have I misunderstood? Are you willing to admit that this is not "scientific evidence" as they claim or a "theory" as you claim? If not, then understand that I am going to point out the misuse of that information.

    So I'm just supposed to let people make crappy claims and not say anything about it on a discussion forum? Seems kind of counterproductive to the "discussion" part.

    So why are YOU so desperate to defend them?

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    Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #21)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 03:04 PM

    22. “They have test for no other options. Perhaps unscrambling pithy Mark Twain epithets…”

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1218&pid=7415

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/12187379


    Study participants were given a sentence containing five words to unscramble. Some contained religious themes and others did not. After unscrambling the sentences, participants were asked to complete a number of tasks that required self-control – enduring discomfort, delaying gratification, exerting patience, and refraining from impulsive responses.



    How do you know, from this brief description that they did not (for example) use “pithy Mark Twain epithets?”

    This isn’t a scientific paper, it’s a press release. There’s no formal description of the procedures the researchers followed. You’re attempting to pick apart their methodologies, without really knowing what methods they used.

    Hey, have a nice day. I’m done.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #22)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 06:46 PM

    25. We know because we read and see no evidence of anything other than a ...

     

    very poorly constructed "experiment", one that does not follow any of the basic tenets of what must be screened in and screened out for possible other variables in the observations.

    We also see no evidence that the observers were unbiased in what they were observing. That is a fatal flaw, in the conduct of any experiment to "prove" or disprove an hypothesis. Does the expression "double blind" mean anything to you with regard to conducting scientific tests to prove one hypothesis or another?

    Also, of note, there was no "placebo" or "null set" involved in this test. If it had been, we might find that some of the participants who were younger did better than those who were older, etc. This experiment was NOT science. Please try not to pretend it is anything other than NOT science.

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    Response to MarkCharles (Reply #25)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 03:40 PM

    70. There actually was a control condition: unscrambling of nonreligious phrases

    However, at least as it's reported, there was no attempt to make the nonreligious phrases comparable in terms of emotional content, or relationship to future planning, etc. Maybe, there was and the control conditions were not reported. But I would not find the results particularly convincing as regards the importance of religious content to the phrases unless there are such controls.

    More generally, the reporter's summing up of the study is incorrect, as it is not saying that 'being religious makes you more self-controlled' but that exposure to religious content may affect performance (probably by already-religious people) in an experimental task.

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    Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #70)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 03:53 PM

    73. No, the CONTROL condition would be........

     

    performance of tasks WITHOUT doing the unscrambling of anything!


    The null set is NOTHING as a precursor.

    I'm afraid I will have to ATTEMPT to verbally resurrect this "experiment", for those of us who may NOT be familiar with how to put something like this together.

    Number one.... population... how many, where when and demographic, religious, and ethnic background, ages, educations, etc.

    We need to know ranges of all of that.

    Number two....what exactly were the tasks, the precursors to tasks, etc.?

    Number three.....when was this done, over how many days weeks months years. (FOR EXAMPLE, social science experiments scheduled for September 11, 2001, were THROWN OUT in most experiments of this nature around the world, and many tests of this nature were thrown out for all of September in the greater NYC colleges and universities, can you guess why?)

    Number four... who did the precursor tasks? Who did the follow-up tasks? Who observed each or both? We must screen for what we call the "Hawthorn effect", people who know that they are being observed perform differently. Likewise, the "Cinderella effect", and the "Stockholm effect"

    Number five...what were the "rewards" for one behavior over another? Both on the precursor test and on the subsequent tests? Just verbal praise? What praise? Smiles? Gender of testers and testees? All of this has to be controlled for.

    So NO...this had nothing to do with social science research, this has to do with an agenda, and a press release and no details, so it was, OF COURSE, re-published on a religious web site.


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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #22)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:32 PM

    37. "Hey, have a nice day. I’m done." That's a good thing.

    Because your argument failed several posts ago.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #22)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:36 PM

    39. Good for you for being done. Some *discussions* in this group are really not discussions at all.

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #39)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:53 PM

    63. Are you kidding me?

    "Good for you" for espousing the equivalent of "I'm taking my ball and going home" or "lalalalalala I'm not listening to you"? How about you admonish them for the same things you admonish ch about? How about telling the OP that they are making claims that are unsupported?

    I really don't think I can think of a time when you have come down "admonishing" a believer in this forum like you do the atheists.

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    Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #63)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 03:23 PM

    68. Oh no, we can't have that. Admonishing the OP for the same thing I was admonished for

    would constitute something akin to consistency in one's position or opinion, and that leaves little to no room to move the goalposts.

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    Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #63)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 03:53 PM

    74. Yep. There are frequenters of this group that employ debate *techniques*

    that really don't warrant a response. Kudos to anyone who chooses to step away once they determine that there is no point in continuing.

    As to your second observation, you must not have been paying much attention to current events in regards to this group.

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #74)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 05:11 PM

    78. There is an easy solution for this, you know.

    Its called "ignore". Use it liberally.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #22)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 03:16 PM

    67. I am not saying this to pick on you personally; there are others who do it much more often

    But I'm a bit sick of people using 'have a nice day' as a means of dismissing other people's arguments. Why not just say 'I think you're wrong, but I don't choose to pursue the argument further'? It's what you mean, and frankly I'd find it much less snarky than this usage of 'have a nice day'.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #20)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:30 PM

    35. Why is it so difficult to understand that the "simple experiements" did NOT lend ANY credence

    to any theory.

    That is what GM is saying, you seem to be arguing otherwise. Either agree with him, or don't and provide YOUR reasoning that this "study" is valid in any sense.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Original post)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 12:14 PM

    10. The study of religion and its effects is fascinating.

    It has apparently been around since early in the history of man. It seems probable that some aspects of religion have been selected for. The common themes through much of religious myth also indicate that it can tell us a lot about who we think we are and where we fit into the world.

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    Response to Jim__ (Reply #10)

    Wed Jan 25, 2012, 06:51 PM

    26. And your "evidence" for this is?....

     

    Your last sentence is a whopper, too.

    "The common themes through much of religious myth also indicate that it can tell us a lot about who we think we are and where we fit into the world."

    What does THAT mean? We are "Jewish" because of the myths we believe in? We are "Christian", "Muslim", "Hindu" because of the myths we believe in? We are "who we are" and we know "where we fit in the world", because of the religion we believe in? The same could be said about the fact of our birth, or our geographic location during childhood, and the influences from the adults around us.

    I honestly have no idea what that sentence is intended to mean

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    Response to MarkCharles (Reply #26)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:28 PM

    33. And your antecedent for "this" is?

    Lacking a coherent reference, I can say that the "evidence" for my opinion that the study of religion and its effects is fascinating is my awareness of what I think.

    Evidence that religion has been around since the early history of man can be found in Wade's The Faith Instinct

    Evidence that some aspects of religion have been selected for can be found in Boyer's Religion Explained.

    Evidence that mythology can tell us about who we are can be found in Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

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    Response to Jim__ (Reply #33)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 12:59 PM

    41. So "evidence" for you is equal to three authors' written opinions?

     

    That's all it takes?

    I still have no idea what this phrase means "mythology can tell us about who we are ".

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    Response to MarkCharles (Reply #41)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:14 PM

    59. The arguments for the statements that I made are quite well-known.

    If you are unfamiliar with them, then you must not be very conversant with religious studies. Those 3 books would familiarize you with the arguments. All 3 books have extensive references if you are interested in delving deeper.

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    Response to Jim__ (Reply #59)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:48 PM

    62. Arguments, in life, and in any court of law, and in science are NOT...

     

    evidence.

    Sorry if you feel I have not read widely in religious mythologies. Campbell, I think, is the only author with which I have some familiarity from my freshman college course in mythologies.

    There is no "evidence" in ANY form of argument. There is only opinion.

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    Response to MarkCharles (Reply #62)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 03:05 PM

    65. Evidence is offered in support of an argument.

    The books I cited make the arguments and offer supporting evidence.

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Original post)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:42 PM

    48. As often, the claims made go well beyond anything that the study shows

    The sort of 'self-control' tasks that are likely to be used in psychology experiments tend to involve planning for a long-term goal, and inhibiting responses that might be more immediately gratifying but detract from the goal. Thus, they tend to involve attention and the ability to keep a goal in mind while acting toward its fulfilment - the sort of thing that comes under the umbrella term of 'executive function' - much more than any moral aspect.

    It may be that religious phrases focus attention more than neutral phrases. It may even be that as many people associate religion with long-term planning (from 'if I do X I'm more likely to go to Heaven' to 'these are my goals for spiritual growth'), the religious phrases lead, while in that context, to a greater tendency to focus on long-term goals. It may be that any phrase that relates to something emotionally important to an individual (e.g. concerning close family members) or to long-term planning (e.g. studies or career) may put people into a less impulsive, more goal-oriented, and/or more attentive mindset. In order to draw conclusions from the study, it would be necessary to compare the religious phrases with other emotionally important or goal-related phrases, and not just neutral phrases. Also, it is important to see whether religious people react differently from nonreligious people. It may be that some of these controls were included in the study, but the report doesn't say so.

    In any case, 'Thinking about religious sentences makes people act less impulsively in an experimental task' is not the same thing as saying 'Religion generally improves people's self-control'.

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    Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #48)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:51 PM

    51. Good analysis and right on target, imo.

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #51)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:03 PM

    55. Funny, that sounds pretty much just like what several of us said.

    And then you argued that we were wrong.


    What gives?

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    Response to cleanhippie (Reply #55)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:06 PM

    57. Doesn't sound remotely like anything several of you have said, imo.

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #57)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:14 PM

    58. Well, as I said before, you are entitled to your opinion.

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #57)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:55 PM

    64. So my statement about unscrambling pithy Twain sayings

    providing the same level of self control isn't on point with what you just said was a great point? Again, I am noticing a non-scientifically tested trend in your "good jobs" and "bad jobs."

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    Response to cbayer (Reply #57)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 03:33 PM

    69. The only difference between what I said and what they said...

    seeks to be that I mentioned a lack of certainty as to whether it was the researchers or the reporter who was being unscientific. My bias here is that I'm myself a researcher, and have observed press misrepresentations of research.

    Otherwise, I think my points were similar, unless you're referring to a different argument.

    I think I sometimes 'get away with things' (on DU in general, not just this forum), because I'm not American, and therefore my arguments don't fit into the usual American framework and therefore don't arouse certain learned aversive responses! It's convenient for me, but probably not always fair.

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    Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #69)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 03:46 PM

    72. The reporting of the study is the difference to which I refer.

    I don't see any evidence that would lead me to put much credence in this study at all. Then again, I don't have the data I would need to dismiss it, either. There is just no there there until the actual study is released.

    The other difference may be cultural, but I doubt it. You made your argument without dismissing, denigrating or mocking those that might disagree. You made points that could begin a discussion. The tone was different.

    FWIW, my husband is British, so I am fairly immune to the use of the British framework, lol.

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    Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #48)

    Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:04 PM

    56. Thanks. I think this is what I was groping for from a layman's pov.

    Grope and layman being the operative conditions...

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    Response to OKIsItJustMe (Original post)

    Sat Jan 28, 2012, 02:37 PM

    79. For those hoping to understand Evolutionary Religious Studies

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