Friday, October 28, 2016
Do religious people understand the world LESS? Study claims belief in God makes you struggle with reality
Annika M. Svedholm-Häkkinen is a prolific publisher on religious matters but this piece suggests to me that she knows very little of Christianity: A rather large lacuna, one would think. Her findings below sound methodologically acceptable but her interpretation of them is naive.
She falls victim to the logical fallacy that correlation is causation. She thinks that the unscientific thinking of Christians lies behind their poor knowledge of science. It probably does, but not in the way she thinks. Her clear opinion is that her findings show Christians as a bit dumb and intellectually deficient -- with those limitations also explaining their religiousness. So once again we have Leftist academics trying to show that religion is stupid (Islam excepted, of course).
But an equally possible interpretation of the findings is that faith leads to reduced interest in science. Annika M. Svedholm-Häkkinen is apparently unaware that Christ said, "My kingdom is not of this world" and that Christians follow on from that by slighting physical world matters in favour of an interest in what they see as metaphysical matters.
I am an extreme atheist. I agree with Carnap that all metaphysical statements are meaningless. But that is just my opinion. Most of the world does find some metaphysical statements persuasive. So we will have situations where a Christian spends his time on his knees in prayer rather than hunched over a laboratory bench. The Bible will be of interest where a Bunsen burner is not. And both will learn different things from those different experiences
So I would argue that the results tell us only that Christians and unbelievers have different interests. They do not tell us anything about mental inadequacies in religious believers.
I am just speaking basic science in saying that we would need some sort of before and after experiment to isolate the causal direction. A survey cannot do that
I have added the journal abstract after the summary below
A new study has suggested that religious people are more likely to have a poor understanding of the world.
It claims that those with a belief in God are more likely to think that inanimate objects, such as metal and oil can think and feel.
Researchers say that the findings suggest people's lack of understanding about the physical world means they apply their own rules, 'resulting in belief in demons, gods, and other supernatural phenomena'.
The study comes from the University of Helsinki, where researchers went as far as comparing religious people with those with autism, after finding they struggle to understand the realities of the world.
People with strong religious beliefs tended to have a worse understanding of physical phenomenon, such as volcanoes and wind, and were more likely to believe that inanimate objects can think and feel.
For example, religious people tended to agree with statements such as 'stones sense the cold.'
Marjaana Lindeman and Annika Svedholm-Häkkinen, who led the study, told The Independent: 'The more the participants believed in religious or other paranormal phenomena, the lower their intuitive physics skills, mechanical and mental rotation abilities, school grades in mathematics and physics, and knowledge about physical and biological phenomena were.'
The study involved 258 Finnish participants, who were asked how much they agreed with the statement 'there exists an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving God' and if they believed in paranormal phenomena such as ghosts and psychic visions.
They were also tested on a range of other topics, including intuitive physics skills and understanding of basic biology.
The results showed that religious people tend to base their actions on instinct, rather than analytical thinking.
A study in 2013 by researchers at the University of Rochester suggested that religious people tend to have a lower IQ.
It suggested that those with high IQs had greater self-control and were able to do more for themselves - so did not need the benefits that religion provides.
But other studies have also found the religious people tend to be happier than those who do not believe in God.
Does Poor Understanding of Physical World Predict Religious and Paranormal Beliefs?
Marjaana Lindeman and Annika M. Svedholm-Häkkinen
Although supernatural beliefs often paint a peculiar picture about the physical world, the possibility that the beliefs might be based on inadequate understanding of the non-social world has not received research attention. In this study (N = 258), we therefore examined how physical-world skills and knowledge predict religious and paranormal beliefs. The results showed that supernatural beliefs correlated with all variables that were included, namely, with low systemizing, poor intuitive physics skills, poor mechanical ability, poor mental rotation, low school grades in mathematics and physics, poor common knowledge about physical and biological phenomena, intuitive and analytical thinking styles, and in particular, with assigning mentality to non-mental phenomena. Regression analyses indicated that the strongest predictors of the beliefs were overall physical capability (a factor representing most physical skills, interests, and knowledge) and intuitive thinking style.
ACPsy Volume 30, Issue 5, September/October 2016, Pages 736–742
Multiculturalist jailed for eight years for sex attacks on women as they slept at parties
An actor who played a prisoner in the hit TV show Broadchurch now faces eight years behind bars in real- life after being convicted of a series of sex attacks.
Nyakeh Kpaka, 26, whose stage name is Nakay Kpaka, was regarded as a promising young black actor with a bright future ahead of him after appearing in a number of popular crime and detective dramas including ITV's Broadchurch where he starred alongside David Tennant and Olivia Colman, playing the criminal son of a lawyer who has been locked up for six years.
But in real life he was a 'dangerous sexual predator' who targeted lone women at parties, sexually assaulting victims while they lay sleeping, it can now be revealed.
Kpaka was jailed for eight years for sexual assault yesterday at Woolwich Crown Court after being convicted of three sex attacks on two women.
Now it can be revealed for the first time that while he rose to fame starring in detective dramas, including ITV's Grantchester and Whitechapel, a series in which modern detectives in London's Whitechapel district deal with crimes which replicated Jack the Ripper, Kpaka was preying on vulnerable women off-screen.
In May 2015, Kpaka attended a house party in Blackheath, South East London where he later crept into a bed where a woman was sleeping and sexually assaulted her twice. Terrified, the victim woke up and ran screaming from the bedroom.
Police were called and Kpaka was arrested. But he claimed the victim had consented, even though she had never met him before and had, had little to do with him at the party.
Detectives released him on bail while they investigated.
But a second victim came forward in September last year claiming she had also been sexually assaulted by Kpaka in similar circumstances when she fell asleep at a different house party in Finsbury Park in December 2014.
The woman, who did not know Kpaka prior to the party, had gone to sleep in a bedroom at the house and was woken by Kpaka touching her.
Kpaka was charged with three counts of sexual assault by penetration in February 2016, but he denied the allegations saying the victims willingly took part. But after a short trial he was convicted at Woolwich Crown Court and sentenced to eight years.
Yesterday Detective Constable Peter Thompson, the investigating officer from the Met's Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: 'Kpaka is a dangerous sexual predator who has attacked vulnerable lone women whilst they were sleeping in bed at two different house parties.
'Thankfully he has now been caught and convicted and is serving a prison sentence.
'I would like to take this opportunity to thank those present at the parties who came to the assistance of the victims and the victims themselves who showed a great degree of courage to report these offences and give evidence against Kpaka.'
Police believe the actor who trained at Drama Centre London and also worked as a producer, may have attacked others.
Detective Inspector Faye Churchyard, said: 'This is a very positive result for both victims and their families and all those witnesses who came forward.
'I would use this opportunity to appeal for any further victims to come forward and report to police.'
Court halts Obama contractor blacklist
A Texas District Court told the White House it couldn't enforce a proposed blacklist for federal contractors, saying that President Obama exceeded his authority when he called for the new rule.
The court's decision was a preliminary injunction, but the sharp tone of the ruling suggested the administration would face an uphill battle to preserve the rule, which was scheduled to start Tuesday.
"The executive branch appears to have departed from Congress's explicit instructions dictating how violations of the labor law statutes are to be addressed," Judge Marcia Crone said in a ruling issued Monday.
The decision involves a 2014 executive order regarding any company bidding on a federal contract larger than $500,000. Obama's order, issued by the Labor Department last year, requires bidders to report any violations within the last three years of 14 federal labor and safety laws, as well as violations of any equivalent state laws. The contractors also had to report any pending complaints made against it, regardless of whether of a court has reviewed them. If the company wins the contract, it must make follow-up reports every six months until the contract is completed.
A coalition of business groups led by the Associated Builders and Contractors challenged the rule, arguing it was unfair because it meant that companies could lose out on contracts even if the complaints against them were ultimately dismissed. Crone agreed.
"Contracting agencies [are given] the authority to require contractors to report for public disclosure mere allegations of labor law violations, and then to disqualify or require contractors to enter into premature labor compliance agreements based on their alleged violations of such laws in order to obtain or retain federal contracts," Crone wrote. "By these actions, the executive branch appears to have departed from Congress's explicit instructions dictating how violations of the labor law statutes are to be addressed."
Later in the ruling, Crone said Obama's executive order "explicitly conflict[s]" with existing federal rules for banning contractors that violate labor laws and that it "defies reason" that Congress meant to give federal agencies that power.
The National Labor Relations Board, the main federal labor law enforcement agency, reported in its 2015 performance review that it issued more than 1,200 unfair labor practice complaints and that it prevailed "in whole or in part" in 88 percent of the cases litigated.
The Associated Builders and Contractors' vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs, Ben Brubeck, said his organization was "pleased" with the ruling. "The Obama administration cannot order private businesses to publicly disclose mere accusations of labor law violations that have not been fully adjudicated," he said.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, also applauded the decision. He argued that the rule would have allowed the government to "to play political favorites, picking and choosing which businesses are ineligible to receive federal contracts — even blocking them for a labor violation that hasn't been proven."
Despite controversies that rage over immigration, it is hard to see how anyone could be either for or against immigrants in general. First of all, there are no immigrants in general.
Both in the present and in the past, some immigrant groups have made great contributions to American society, and others have contributed mainly to the welfare rolls and the prisons. Nor is this situation unique to the United States. The same has been true of Sweden and of other countries in Europe and elsewhere.
Sweden was, for a long time, one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries in the world. As of 1940, only about one percent of the Swedish population were immigrants. Even as the proportion of immigrants increased over the years, as late as 1970 90 percent of foreign-born persons in Sweden had been born in other Scandinavian countries or in Western Europe.
These immigrants were usually well-educated, and often had higher labor force participation rates and lower unemployment rates than the native Swedes. That all began to change as the growing number of immigrants came increasingly from the Middle East, with Iraqis becoming the largest immigrant group in Sweden.
This changing trend was accompanied by a sharply increased use of the government’s “social assistance” program, from 6 percent in the pre-1976 era to 41 percent in the 1996-1999 period. But, even in this later period, fewer than 7 percent of the immigrants from Scandinavia and Western Europe used “social assistance,” while 44 percent of the immigrants from the Middle East used that welfare state benefit.
Immigrants, who were by this time 16 percent of Sweden’s population, had become 51 percent of the long-term unemployed and 57 percent of the people receiving welfare payments. The proportion of foreigners in prison was 5 times their proportion in the population of the country.
The point of all this is that there is no such thing as immigrants in general, whether in Europe or America. Yet all too many of the intelligentsia in the media and in academia talk as if immigrants were abstract people in an abstract world, to whom we could apply abstract principles — such as “we are all descendants of immigrants.”
A hundred years ago, when a very different mix of immigrants were coming to a very different America, there was a huge, multi-volume study of how immigrants from different countries had fared here. This included how they did as workers in various industries and in agriculture, and how their children did in school.
Some people like to refer to the past as “earlier and simpler times.” But it is we today who are so simple-minded that it would be taboo to do anything so politically incorrect as to sort out immigrants by what country they came from. As Hillary Clinton said in one of her recently revealed e-mails, she is for “open borders.”
However congenial the idea of open borders may be to elites who think of themselves as citizens of the world, it is not even possible to have everyone come to America and the country still remain America.
What is it that makes this country so different that so many people from around the world have, for centuries, wanted to come here, more so than to any other country? It is not the land or the climate, neither of which is so different from the land and the climate in many other places.
Nor is it the racial makeup of the country, which consists of races found on other continents. What is unique are American institutions, American culture and American economic and other achievements within that framework.
People who came here a hundred years ago usually did so in order to fit within the framework of America and become Americans. Some still do. But many come from a very different cultural background — and our own multiculturalism dogmas and grievance industry work to keep them foreign and resentful of Americans who have achieved more than they have.
Some immigrant groups seek to bring to America the very cultures whose failures led them to flee to this country. Not all individual immigrants and not all immigrant groups. But too many Americans have become so gullible that they are afraid to even get the facts about which immigrants have done well and improved America, and which have become a burden that can drag us all down.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.