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Analytic Thinking is Inversely Proportional to Religious Belief

Quantum1.0This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. posted this thread...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Here it is: scientific proof that religion and analytic thinking (aka being rational :) ) are inversely proportional:
 
htt p://w ww.scientifi camerican.co m /article.cf m? id=losing-your-religion-ana lytic-thinking-can-undermine-belief
 
You'll note that it doesn't prove whether God exists or not - but it does show that if you value rationality it doesn't real add up.

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I'll have to read the article when I have the time, but my initial reaction is...
 
No.  :|
Just because you believe in God, doesn't make you irrational.
 
God bless. ♥

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Quantum1.0This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I don't mean irrational in everything. 
 
Besides, it is a correlation, not a law of nature. Although, it is a a signifigant correlation, so you can't just deny it.

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I'm at work now, so I'll have to read the article later and get back to you.
 
However, I'll say this now:
Belief in God may seem irrational to someone who is atheistic, but from a theistic premise it makes pefect sense.
You have to understand that I didn't arbitrarily decide that God is real and then begin accepting the Bible and its doctrines.
No. I first started with the Bible as my premise. I've tested it numerous times and it's always proven to be true. From there all my beliefs make perfect rational sense (they just don't seem that way to an atheist).
 
That's why I reeeaaallllyyy need to post my argument for the Bible....
 
God bless. ♥

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Quantum1.0This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Well I'm sure your beliefs makes sense to you. It would be weird if they didn't. Get back to me when you read the article though.

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 5:54 pm

That wasn't really my point.
I'm just saying that it depends on the premise. The idea that people believe there is a Creator who made us seems irrational to you. Just as the idea that people can believe there is no Creator and the universe happened by chance seems irrational to me. It's a two-way street, my friend. :P
 
As for the article, I thought I'd finished and then I realized there was a second page. XD
I'm just going to read it quickly and post in a bit...

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Hmmm.... okay.... very interesting....
 
Here are my thoughts:
 
In the conculsion they asked the question: "If God exists, and if believing in God is perfectly rational, then why does increasing rational thinking tend to decrease belief in God?"
 
I think this question is a little misleading. Namely because they use the word "rational" in place of the word "analytical". They aren't necessarily synonomous.
 
I don't disagree with the idea that decreased analytical thinking correlates with belief in God, but that doesn't mean it's not "rational" to believe in God.
 
Also, who's to say that being analytical is better than having faith?
What's wrong with trusting in God and the Bible once you have rationalized it to be true?
 
Anyways, if I think of anything else I'll post it later.
 
God bless. ♥

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Quantum1.0This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Fair enough.
 
I do have one question though: Is it possible to get to a belief in God using purely analytical/rational methods?
 
I obviously tried and was unsuccessful, but what do you think? And if the answer is no, how can you say you have rationalized the Bible and God to be true?

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Yes and no....
 
Anyways, I'm too tired right now, but I'll explain what I mean some other time.
 
God bless. ♥

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zander101 replied...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 10:19 pm

I personaly think that rational thought points to God.
but in this perspective, they are saying that " such amount of people showes this..."
its just that some christians   tend to not relate everything to God.
so they try to define things that they dont understand.
if you dont know something dont try to stand up for it because you will look stupid.
idk if that makes sence to yall

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stuntddudeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 4:18 am

half.note:
 
"Belief in God may seem irrational to someone who is atheistic, but from a theistic premise it makes pefect sense."
 
You may be misunderstanding the nature of the article. It is not showing things from an atheistic perspective, it is simply showing a strong correlation. Really the only valid way to criticize the correlation is to criticize the nature of the study and the way it's conducted.
 
"Namely because they use the word "rational" in place of the word "analytical". They aren't necessarily synonomous."
 
They are synonymous, though. The first definition to come up in a google search is "Relating to or using analysis or logical reasoning."
 
"Also, who's to say that being analytical is better than having faith?"
 
I am. I'll say it. Analysis is demonstrably more effective than faith -- it simply works better. If you build a plane based on analytical thinking, it might fly. If you build a plane based on faith, it certainly will not.
 
Quantum:
 
Another vein of evidence is that education level is also strongly inversely proportionate. Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains it well:
 
ht tp://youtu.be/Qlt0hkLNr3w
 
The interesting thing is that English majors actually have among the biggest drops in religiosity. In fact, last year when I took honors English, I was sure the class was filled at least 40% with atheists, and this is just in 9th grade high school in a school in the bible belt, forget PhD's and accomplished scientists. It's something I would not have expected, but now that I think about it, it makes sense -- English scholars, to be even remotely credible, have to have the semantics and linguistics aspects nailed down to a T. None of the semantics/language-based fallacies can easily slip by a language expert. A large part of language and that type of education also focuses on persuasive writing and speaking. Someone so knowledgeable about persuasive techniques should be able to pick them apart easily. Fascinating stuff.
 
Zander:
 
I don't see how what you described could lead to the correlation investigated in the article. Care to elaborate?

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 6:06 am

Quantum: (strictly :P)
Finally, something tangible to get off on.
Firstly, the point is that religion is not = belief or faith or whatchamacallit entirely. At the basic level, religion relies on faith; gradually transcending, one moves to thought, and then to discovery (of one's inner self, which is intrinsically dynamic). All higher religion is based largely on experience, which is verifiable (c.f The Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam).  In that sense, religion may be tagged as "monkery or mysticism"(although the two aren't synonymous) which is only a misnomer.  Therefore, what this study does to prove is that analytical thinking can challenge (and even falsify) belief, which is not the foundation, but only a sub-stage of religion. A better word would be superstition (including religious superstition), which can be undermined very effectively by using analytical techniques. 
 
Reading something that is faintly coherent does lead one to have doubts; however, this cannot be a sufficient test to disprove religion, where mere reading is not even taken seriously. It is understanding and inculcation of what is being read that is actually required in religion.
Thirdly, increasing analytical thinking does not undermine a belief in God. As I said, religion is not the name of believing in God as a deity (according to Nietzsche, self-centered man has killed God. The conception of God most theists hold is, I admit, strongly unappropriate. However, this does not mean that the actual God doesn't exist). Religion has a refined meaning to it that involves shaping the individual's life and the growth of the self.
For a detailed analysis of what I'm aiming at, see "Science and Islam" by Ehsan Masood. The book can be downloaded from 4 shared.

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stuntddudeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 6:14 am

"Therefore, what this study does to prove is that analytical thinking can challenge (and even falsify) belief, which is not the foundation, but only a sub-stage of religion."
 
Um, excuse me, isn't it pretty important for a religion that you actually believe it?
 
"The conception of God most theists hold is, I admit, strongly unappropriate. However, this does not mean that the actual God doesn't exist"
 
So basically No True Scotsman 2.0

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 10:10 am

Well, no. It's important for a religion that we follow what it says in "letter and spirit", only after judging whether it's actually valid or not. that is why religious laws have a certain degree of flexibility, and are much generalised to fit in any span/space.

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Quantum1.0This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 10:19 am

" At the basic level, religion relies on faith; gradually transcending, one moves to thought, and then to discovery (of one's inner self, which is intrinsically dynamic). "

I think this is backwards. Logic should come before faith - not the other way around. Here's my problem with faith first, then rational thought - by the time you've gotten to rational thought you've already decided, so you're not going to approach you rational thought objectively.


I'll try to get a hold of "Science and Islam" - it sounds interesting.

And, " It's important for a religion that we follow what it says in "letter and spirit", only after judging whether it's actually valid or not. that is why religious laws have a certain degree of flexibility, and are much generalised to fit in any span/space."

Counterpoint: Ho.mo.se.xua.lity - that's not flexible at all and it should be now that we realize it isn't some sort of perverted choice people make. (I'm not sure this applies to Islam though - so forgive me if it doesn't).

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Destinee replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 11:50 am

Dynamo: 
 
You have to stop using the phrase "get off on". It means something totally different here. Totally different. LOL.
 
Quantum: 
 
Did you get the 5 min question right? :) I did!!! Hehe. Love when I get stuff right the first time. Strokes my ego.
 
Anyway. This is no big surprise, honestly. Without actually having gone and read the studies, and I didn't really look into the stats thing (i.e. assuming the diff doesn't fall within deviation yadda yadda), It seems to be saying that analytic thinking increases analytic thinking. Good job? 
 
""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?"
 
1. It would be interesting to see how they skipped God altogether and asked people about other fundamentals of mindset, e.g. belief in justice, for instance. Does that decrease too? Obviously slightly increasing your analytic thinking for a short period of time will increase your ability to doubt. 
 
2. Addresses superstition more than religion, IMO. Again, to be expected. 
 
3. Association: their participants are presumably from America; America has a history of faith-based religion, obviously the participants are exposed to it, it's no big surprise that a bit of thinking douses water on it. Basically, God is associated with blind faith, non-belief is not, your mind is forming patterns, due to where you live and wht you've been exposed to the unconscious tendency is towards doubt. 
 
4. How long did the participants have to reason out their beliefs? It seems to me that they did the following:
 
- Asked how much they believed in God
- Did The Thinker/discus thing
- Asked how much they believed in God
 
Given that they probably had like, max 30 min to do the whole thing, I highly doubt that the 10 min they sat around rating their belief in God post-exposure-to-picture would yield any significant rational breakthroughs. A prolonged period of time increasing rational thinking, and then specifically making them think about God during that period, and then furthermore making them think analytically about mainstream religions and their evidence, yadda yadda yadda (i.e. making them actually live) would be more appropriate. Essentially, the increase was purely subconscious it seems, changing the approach to intuition during the experiment, and the participants only subconsciously and shortly thought about God. 
 
5. Why were the participants holding their beliefs to begin with? Probably cuz they were raised that way. No s.hit (sorry I like saying that :) ) that analytic thinking can undermine what you've assumed to be true your whole life. 
 
Meh. 

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Destinee replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 11:58 am

And this only really deals with how a common person (in a non-representative sample of unknown size) approaches God. It really does not touch on anything vaguely intellectual, as I tried to show in (3), (4) and (5). Basically, the intellectual aspect of religion, for instance Aquinas in the West, is probably not what these people were reading, and they probably have 0 clue what is in the Summa Theologica, or any of Christianity's greatest thinkers' books. the study doesn't address the actual rational part of religion.
 
Also rationality and analytic thinking aren't the same.

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Destinee replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Oh here..
 
nature.c om/news/is-rationality-the-enemy-of-religion-1.10539
 
It's fun to see 2 diff journals analyze the same thing.

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DynamoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Thanks Dess. I wasn't using it as a phrase, but well. :D

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Quantum:
 
"Is it possible to get to a belief in God using purely analytical/rational methods?"
 
Okay, I finally have time to answer your question...
 
I don't know about "purely", but it is definitely part of the journey.
If you decide God is real, that will require faith, but I think you can still reason it out to a point.
 
First, it's important to understand, we are simple, finite humans incapable of totally understanding the complex, infinite God.
Is he beyond rationality? No.
But we also have to accept the fact that we won't always be able to understand everything about what He does and why He does it (right away, at least).
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33)
 
Just think about it: if we could easily rationalize and figure out God, why would He be worth our worship? Being beyond human understanding is a inherent characteristic of a being that has created us.
 
See, look at that, we're already on our way to reasoning in out. ;)
 
 
Anyways, in the Bible is something known as "Peter's Ladder".
Basically, it's the steps (pardon the pun) to coming to have an relationship with God.
 
I'll quote it for you:
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:3-8)
 
As you can see, you slowly "add" these different aspects to the previous one and slowly build.
First, comes faith. Then virture. Then knowledge. Then temperance. Etc. Etc.
 
Wait! Before you shake your head and stop reading, let me explain...
 
"Faith" here is not necessarily the absolute belief that God is real. God would never ask that you blindly accept Him, follow Him, and leave it at that. But, to start up the ladder you have to put aside your idealogies for a moment and sincerely want to know the truth. (Knowing you Quantum, I'd say you already have some faith. :) )
Then comes virtue. This doesn't mean becoming a holy, perfect person right away. It just means allowing God to make changes in your heart.
Then.... Knowledge. Here it is. This starts as you allow yourself to be changed and come to know God. He will provide all the evidence you need to continue growing in faith.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
 
 
I don't know if that helped explain it, but I will use another example just in case in didn't:
 
Think of walking down a path on a dark night.
The Bible says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
So think of the God’s Word as your lamp.
Now, will a lamp illuminate the path all the way to your destination? No, of course not. The lamp will only reveal what is a few steps in front of you.
You can see that far. You can know what is a few steps ahead, but beyond that is darkness.
If you want to go further, you have to have faith that you will not run into danger ahead. Based on what you see, you have to have faith and make a choice to go forward. As you do, the lamp will illuminate even further ahead. As you keep walking, you begin to gain more knowledge about the path you are on.
 
I think this is a good analogy for our walk with God.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
 
Of course, that doesn’t mean reasoning and rationalization isn’t involved in the process. The lamp still reveals some information and you are able to make a decision based on that information, but faith is required to go forward.
And it is far from “blind faith,” the Lamp reaveals what is in the darkness.
 
 
stuntddude:
 
"Belief in God may seem irrational to someone who is atheistic, but from a theistic premise it makes pefect sense."


You may be misunderstanding the nature of the article. It is not showing things from an atheistic perspective, it is simply showing a strong correlation. Really the only valid way to criticize the correlation is to criticize the nature of the study and the way it's conducted.
 
Actually, I hadn’t read the article yet when I made that statement, I was just speaking generally. :)
And I don’t have any (major) qualms with the nature of the study, just the way they interpret it.
 
 
They are synonymous, though. The first definition to come up in a google search is "Relating to or using analysis or logical reasoning."
 
Sure, they are similar, but they are not interchangeable (especially in this case).
I mean, there are lots of people who aren’t necessarily “analytical” but they are still capable of “rational” thought and choices.
“Analytical” is when you analyze and reason things out.
“Rational” is just making sense and being logical.
 
 
Analysis is demonstrably more effective than faith -- it simply works better. If you build a plane based on analytical thinking, it might fly. If you build a plane based on faith, it certainly will not.
 
Well, obviously having faith and being analytical have their different places in our lives.
 
I’m actually a very analytical person and question pretty much everything. But I still have faith. Not because I thought one day, “Hey, I should just arbitrarily decide that God is real and then give up my life to him.” Obviously not. Like I said, I have tested the Bible and found it to be true. That’s why I have faith.
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
 
God bless. ♥

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