Religion on Campus NYT article
Posted: 02 May 2007 07:57 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Just wanted to bring to everyone’s attention the followinghttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/02/education/02spirituality.html?ex=1335844800&e article.

It starts of with a sentence: "...To be seen as religious often meant being dismissed as not very bright…"

Do you think of your religious peers as "not very bright?"

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Posted: 02 May 2007 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Pretty scary to me, as a secularist who views the university as the time for exploration of new ideas, not codification of the old and accepted.

As far as religion and intelligence, you’ll find lots of argument here on that subject. I personally do not believe there is a significant connection between belief and intelligence per se (though I also think the definition of intelligence and its relationship to IQ are fuzzier than some people suppose). There probably is a relationship between tendancy to believe and some kind of intellectual temperment or predisposition, but I’m not aware of any formal evidence for this.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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problem solving

what about general tendency to reason things out, problem solve and general deductive skills?

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Posted: 02 May 2007 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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what about general tendency to reason things out, problem solve and general deductive skills?

Well, first is the question of whether these things constitute intelligence or are merely possible elements of it, and then whether they lead one necessarily away from religious belief. I know lots of smart people who don’t have the general curiosity and drive to figure things out that characterizes most of us working in the sciences, but I wouldn’t say they are necessarily less intelligent because they are less inclined to think in deductive ways or to apply their faculties of reason to situations for the sheer pleasure of it. That’s what I mean when I suggest that maybe temperment more than intellectual ability is the reason some choose science over religion. I can’t help looking for patterns and causes and analyzing things in scientific ways- it’s how I think. B ut I know people with much better abilities in math or factual memory who don’t routinely do these things unless required to and who are inclined to a more fuzzy, “spiritual” approach to life. I’m not sure the difference is intelligence.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I read that this morning.  What disturbs me is the Religious Reich’s involvement in all of this, but I have to agree, the stats do represent mainstream America.  However, I am skeptical about an increase, esp since there haven’t been any stats before this.

BTW, IQ is relative.  If you are a child not born and raised in the U.S. and take took the WISC-R, you will score lower than if you took it in your home country.  If you are tired, forgot to eat a good breakfast, or what have you, you will score lower than if you had. There are various factors, so being religious or non-religious doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with it.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I think there is a bit of false dichotomy here. We all believe quite a bit, without having empirical proof. And we are all asked to believe quite a bit on the authority of others (ever tested AGW yourself)? And that sort of elitist we are better because we believe what science says nonsense is just poppycock.

Humans seem wired to make assumptions, to extrapolate from limited data. We are wired to believe, and make sense.

Even Dawkins can be found to have beliefs that he has not supported by empirical tests. He has faith in his fellow scientists to do their own work and report back the truth. Sometimes that faith is unfounded.

To try to equate belief with idiocy…well then we are all just as dumb as one and other.

:wink:

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Posted: 02 May 2007 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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[quote author=“mckenzievmd”] the university as the time for exploration of new ideas, not codification of the old and accepted.

Oh yeah? How about learning Newtonian laws of motion or Euclidean geometry?  I have never been, but one can easily assert that University is at least equally a time of absorbing the old and accepted as well as exploring the new.  :wink:

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Posted: 02 May 2007 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Well, I would say it’s one thing to be intelligent, and quite another to be well informed. I have known a lot of brilliant people who were very poorly informed, either because they lacked essential curiosity, or because they simply lacked the time to do the necessary investigations.

So I would say that we are better insofar as we pay attention to what the sciences tell us. We are certainly better informed, and our beliefs about the world are more accurate as a result. The only other option is to believe based on faith or guesswork.

And one of the most enlightening things that science teaches us is how we can delude ourselves at times ... for example, the work of Daniel Kahnemann and Amos Tversky on heuristics.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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mckenzievmd wrote:
the university as the time for exploration of new ideas, not codification of the old and accepted.


Oh yeah? How about learning Newtonian laws of motion or Euclidean geometry? I have never been, but one can easily assert that University is at least equally a time of absorbing the old and accepted as well as exploring the new.

I guess I didn’t phrase that very clearly. I meant for exploring what is new to the student. Presumably Newton and Euclid will, to some extent, be new to the student taking courses in them and will require stretching and expanding one’s mind. I am concerned that such religious studies as the article refers to might be very different in providing only a framework for reinforcing and immuring oneself in an already established religious faith.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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But the article talked about the growth of these groups in part because the kids are not being brought to faith in the home. That they get into school, experience strong emotional events (death & suicide) and come to faith as a sort of new shelter, from new pains.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]Well, I would say it’s one thing to be intelligent, and quite another to be well informed.<etc., etc.>

Quite agree. Obviously I think that our methods and reason is better at determining what is true, and I put strong degree of faith in the method of science to catch the tendency for story telling, but my own opinion is that fundamentally there is little difference between a person who believes in a religious system and one who believes in the empirical method.

I am also not so sure those of religious belief are any less informed then I am, the difference seems to be more about: 1. an acceptance of supernatural (or supranatural) elements and 2. What they inform themselves on.

I am, for example highly informed on all things cookery (not kookery) so my depth of actual empirical experience and knowledge there is quite high. But for me to assume my friend the designer who can only make burned toast is less intelligent or even less informed would be a bold assumption.

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Posted: 03 May 2007 12:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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[quote author=“cgallaga”]fundamentally there is little difference between a person who believes in a religious system and one who believes in the empirical method.

Well, the one difference is that the person who believes in the empirical method is more likely to be correct about those things which can be determined empirically. (E.g., the age of the earth, the existence of global warming, the likelihood of ESP, sasquach or ghosts, the viability of the war in Iraq, etc.)

[quote author=“cgallaga”]I am, for example highly informed on all things cookery (not kookery) so my depth of actual empirical experience and knowledge there is quite high. But for me to assume my friend the designer who can only make burned toast is less intelligent or even less informed would be a bold assumption.

Sure, he might well be more intelligent in some ways and more informed in some ways. But let’s put it like this: if you have a long empirical experience with cooking, and your friend cooks based on “faith”, you are more likely to turn out something tasty.

wink

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