HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Religion & Spirituality » Atheists & Agnostics (Group) » Science says people are &...

Fri Jan 20, 2012, 02:32 PM

Science says people are "mostly good" without God.

Science says people are "mostly good" without God.

A recent study gives us a fascinating look into how humans "naturally" behave. Scientists collected data from the online game Pardus, which has over 300,000 players, and crunched it through a series of analysis techniques for complex systems. The game is one where the players are free to behave in any way they choose, with no built in advantages for good or bad. The bottom line? Humans are mostly good, most of the time, and they generally behave well even if there are no laws preventing bad behavior.

According to the study:

The analysis of binary timeseries of players (good-bad) shows that the behavior of almost all players is ‘good’ almost all the time. Negative actions are balanced to a large extent by good ones. Players with a high fraction of negative actions tend to have a significantly shorter life. This may be due to two reasons: First because they are hunted down by others and give up playing, second because they are unable to maintain a social life and quit the game because of loneliness or frustration. We interpret these findings as empirical evidence for self organization towards reciprocal, good conduct within a human society. Note that the game allows bad behavior in the same way as good behavior but the extent of punishment of bad behavior is freely decided by the players. (LINK)

Another interesting observation was that negative behavior is more repetitive than reciprocal. In other words, those who do bad often repeat bad behaviors. Scientists also found that people who have recently been wronged are 10 times more likely to do wrong themselves compared to people who have been treated fairly. This is a powerful truth that has far-reaching implications. There are, apparently, bad apples, and they can spoil the bunch. (Hint for Christians: Here's your empirical justification for rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior without reference to a deity.)

There is also an implicit warning in this finding: In the complex real world, there is often little difference between being wronged and feeling as if you've been wronged. We would expect that people who perceive themselves as victims of wrongdoing would also be more likely to act wrongly. This is a chilling observation when we consider that the Republican Party and FOX News specialize in villainizing an entire class of people (liberals) and convincing its viewers that they are being wronged. It has created a culture where many, many people believe there is a left wing conspiracy to take their money, their freedom, and their rights. It has taught us that anger is the correct response to political opposition. If this study is correct, they are causing great societal harm, and greatly increasing the probability that individuals will do evil.


1 replies, 790 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 1 replies Author Time Post
Reply Science says people are "mostly good" without God. (Original post)
Ian David Jan 2012 OP
rrneck Jan 2012 #1

Response to Ian David (Original post)

Fri Jan 20, 2012, 05:35 PM

1. This should be cross posted in Meta. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread