Saturday, October 11, 2008

Some interesting links tying together science and religion

I'm too lazy to write up a whole post, so I'm giving you some interesting articles (tangentially related to religion) to read over instead. Enjoy!
  • Research indicates that people who find themselves losing control tend to develop superstitions and to find patterns in random things (think images of deities in grilled cheese). It's a subscriber-only article, but you can read a synopsis here.

  • A biologist reviews an evolution textbook from the Intelligent Design camp. I wonder if evolution can still be considered "only" a theory if it is actually witnessed. Because that's what this article discusses actually happened recently - evolution caught in action!
  • For many people, facts don't matter as much as ideology (PDF article). You can read a summary of that here. This should be fairly obvious to anyone who followed the discussions at XGH, no?

  • This research examines the developmental roots of fairness and altruism. Summary here. On the other hand, here's a study which show that those who believe in an all-seeing god might be nicer than those who don't.

  • These guys demonstrate that the concept of a dirty sin might not just be metaphorical.

  • Researchers at Oxford University have discovered that believers in religion can draw upon their faith to endure suffering. Interestingly, while googling this topic, I found an old article that mentions this research before they actually began the tests.

  • And finally, in this great TED video, psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we're left, right or center.

  • Update - Just found out about this: Can virgin births be real? A female shark that had been in captivity for eight years with no contact with any males of her species gave birth to a single shark pup this past week.

6 comments:

The Candy Man said...

Great collection of recent science that everyone should know about. Science is beginning to make great inroads in understanding why the human mind is drawn to particular ideas and philosophies - even as those philosophies are losing power in modern society. Thanks.

XGH said...

> For many people, facts don't matter as much as ideology (PDF article). You can read a summary of that here. This should be fairly obvious to anyone who followed the discussions at XGH, no?

IOW, feelings eat facts for breakfast.

Rich Perkins said...

I'm not surprised at all by the Oxford Univ study that religion can help alleviate pain. Let's face it, if you honestly believe that your suffering will lead to a bigger reward in a future world where you can hobnob with God, why not endure it?

Honestly, it is no different than starting a new business. At first it is really tough, but in the end of the day you look forward to a time where you can relax a bit and let the money roll in due to your hard work.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

"Because that's what this article discusses actually happened recently - evolution caught in action!"

Great find! Of course there are countless other examples of speciation

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

and

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html

It's amazing to see there are still those who would insist evolution has never been observed.

Mike said...

The article you linked to does not catch evolution in action. Since the famous oservation of the moths in London, we have been trained to distinguish between mutations within a species and evolution to a new species, which has never been observed. (on the talk backs to your linked article you can see the positions from both sides of the argument, i.e. it has never been observed vs. a million year series of mutations cannot be observed; actually there are more arguments (on both sides) that you can find... if you look)

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