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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 10:39 PM
Original message
Trained Monkeys
Are we, like trained monkeys, conditioned not to question religious beliefs?

A friend of mine posted an interesting illustration up on his Facebook account this morning. Im really glad that he did, because it gets straight to a fundamental issue: why is it taboo in our society to criticize religion?

The illustration shows an actual experiment that scientists had conducted on a group of monkeys. In the test they punish a population of monkeys for attempting to reach a banana on top of a ladder. Once the monkeys have been trained not to climb the ladder, the scientists systematically replaced every monkey, one by one, until none of the original punished monkeys were left in the population. The group knowledge, or paradigm, that climbing the ladder to reach the banana would result in group punishment, stayed with the population even though none of the monkeys had ever experienced the punishment.

Is this one of the reasons why our society shys away from criticizing religious belief systems? Are we living in a society full of trained monkeys? Were our ancestors punished to the point that our whole society wont climb the ladder of religion and question its purpose?

Illustration of experiment:

We're still getting beaten by the other monkeys for daring to climb the ladder.

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laconicsax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 01:41 AM
Response to Original message
1. Error: You can't recommend threads from this forum.
Edited on Tue Nov-08-11 01:42 AM by laconicsax
Anyway, don't you know? Atheists are the trained monkeys beating up good Christians for daring to believe.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 08:10 AM
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2. My radar goes off when "a study" is referred to so generically like this.
Edited on Tue Nov-08-11 08:11 AM by trotsky
Did anyone post a link to or information about the actual study?

On edit: But still, even if not a true study or experiment, it's a good analogy.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. It appears the monkey/ladder study might not be true
But a similar study was done.

Below is a quotation from the experiment, in scientific Jargon: (sources cited below)

"Stephenson (1967) trained adult male and female rhesus monkeys to avoid manipulating an object and then placed individual nave animals in a cage with a trained individual of the same age and sex and the object in question. In one case, a trained male actually pulled his nave partner away from the previously punished manipulandum during their period of interaction, whereas the other two trained males exhibited what were described as "threat facial expressions while in a fear posture" when a nave animal approached the manipulandum. When placed alone in the cage with the novel object, nave males that had been paired with trained males showed greatly reduced manipulation of the training object in comparison with controls. Unfortunately, training and testing were not carried out using a discrimination procedure so the nature of the transmitted information cannot be determined, but the data are of considerable interest."

Stephenson, G. R. (1967). Cultural acquisition of a specific learned response among rhesus monkeys. In: Starek, D., Schneider, R., and Kuhn, H. J. (eds.), Progress in Primatology, Stuttgart: Fischer, pp. 279-288.

Mentioned in: Galef, B. G., Jr. (1976). Social Transmission of Acquired Behavior: A Discussion of Tradition and Social Learning in Vertebrates. In: Rosenblatt, J.S., Hinde, R.A., Shaw, E. and Beer, C. (eds.), Advances in the study of behavior, Vol. 6, New York: Academic Press, pp. 87-88:

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cleanhippie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 09:49 AM
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3. You should put this in R&T...
and watch the heads explode!
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
4. +1,000,000,000,000,000,000
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