Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

Studies of mental functions, behaviors and the nervous system.

Moderators: Calilasseia, ADParker

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#21  Postby The_Piper » Dec 02, 2013 10:52 am

Thommo wrote:In a follow up study they also found that atheists experience heightened levels of emotional arousal in the form of vocal cues when positioned in a darkened room and asked to stare into a mirror and say "Candyman" three times.

:lol: :lol: :lol:
"Tourists make their way thru the foothill landscapes as if blind to all their best beauty, and like children seek the emphasized mountains..." John Muir
Self Taken Pictures of Wildlife
Self Taken Pictures of Scenery
User avatar
The_Piper
 
Name: Fletch F. Fletch
Posts: 26546
Age: 45
Male

Country: Chainsaw Country
United States (us)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#22  Postby Doubtdispelled » Dec 02, 2013 11:10 am

The_Piper wrote:
Thommo wrote:In a follow up study they also found that atheists experience heightened levels of emotional arousal in the form of vocal cues when positioned in a darkened room and asked to stare into a mirror and say "Candyman" three times.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Well, I never say Beetlejuice more than twice.......

:ahrr:
Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

― Mark Twain
Doubtdispelled
 
Posts: 11822

Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#23  Postby The_Piper » Dec 02, 2013 11:14 am

Doubtdispelled wrote:
The_Piper wrote:
Thommo wrote:In a follow up study they also found that atheists experience heightened levels of emotional arousal in the form of vocal cues when positioned in a darkened room and asked to stare into a mirror and say "Candyman" three times.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Well, I never say Beetlejuice more than twice.......

:ahrr:

:lol: Is that what summons him too? I didn't see that movie. :shifty:
"Tourists make their way thru the foothill landscapes as if blind to all their best beauty, and like children seek the emphasized mountains..." John Muir
Self Taken Pictures of Wildlife
Self Taken Pictures of Scenery
User avatar
The_Piper
 
Name: Fletch F. Fletch
Posts: 26546
Age: 45
Male

Country: Chainsaw Country
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#24  Postby Rumraket » Dec 02, 2013 11:33 am

Calilasseia wrote:Oh look. A facile attempt to suggest that because some of us sometimes entertain subconscious thoughts about Mr Invisible Magic Man (er, has this individual never heard of priming, and how this might affect the results, given that we're brought up in surroundings where magic man talk is unavoidable?), this means that we possess "beliefs" in said magic man. Fail.

I have to agree, the study fails to show any "residual belief". It really just talks about measurable increases in symptoms of agitation, which can be due to anything really. How many times have we heard testimonies from former believers who detail how the concept of hell and emotional friend/family issues stemming from leaving a deeply religious life, still some times haunt them? I'd say this result is actually fully expected.
Half-Life 3 - I want to believe
User avatar
Rumraket
 
Posts: 13184
Age: 39

Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#25  Postby archibald » Dec 02, 2013 11:56 am

Rumraket wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:Oh look. A facile attempt to suggest that because some of us sometimes entertain subconscious thoughts about Mr Invisible Magic Man (er, has this individual never heard of priming, and how this might affect the results, given that we're brought up in surroundings where magic man talk is unavoidable?), this means that we possess "beliefs" in said magic man. Fail.

I have to agree, the study fails to show any "residual belief". It really just talks about measurable increases in symptoms of agitation, which can be due to anything really. How many times have we heard testimonies from former believers who detail how the concept of hell and emotional friend/family issues stemming from leaving a deeply religious life, still some times haunt them? I'd say this result is actually fully expected.


Right. Ok. So.....you just don't like the phrase 'residual belief' because it.......seems to demean atheism, though at the same time, you kind of agree that's that what it may be (though you prefer to stress that it may not, just in case)? :)

Imo, this just appears to be insecure atheism.

I'm not saying it is, in your case, I don't know you well enough. But that's the flavour I get of some of the responses. Just my subjective tuppence worth. :)

As far as I know, the authors are going about their business scientifically, and not apologising for religion in any way.
"It seems rather obvious that plants have free will. Don't know why that would be controversial."
(John Platko)
archibald
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 10288
Male

Country: Northern Ireland
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#26  Postby Scot Dutchy » Dec 02, 2013 12:47 pm

Indoctrination does strange things to the mind. Ask any ex East German, Russian or even an American.

They often say that they came from the best country in the world.
Myths in islam Women and islam Musilm opinion polls


"Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
User avatar
Scot Dutchy
 
Posts: 43070
Age: 70
Male

Country: Nederland
European Union (eur)
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#27  Postby chairman bill » Dec 02, 2013 1:03 pm

Xaihe wrote:... This sort of question makes the subject imagine harm to themselves and their loved ones. How does that not result in an emotional reaction in most people?


My thoughts exactly
Socialists: winning the fight against people-hating fascists of the right & (alleged) centre.
User avatar
chairman bill
RS Donator
 
Posts: 28091
Male

Country: UK: fucked since 2010
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#28  Postby archibald » Dec 02, 2013 1:21 pm

chairman bill wrote:
Xaihe wrote:... This sort of question makes the subject imagine harm to themselves and their loved ones. How does that not result in an emotional reaction in most people?


My thoughts exactly


Ok, but on paper, you might think that an atheist might be less disturbed if he dared god to cause the nasty event compared to just wishing for the nasty event*. Both were tested and the former didn't come out with less of a physiological response.

*Interestingly, the atheist participants seemed to agree with this, and verbally reported that the former was less disturbing. But going by the physiological response it wasn't.
"It seems rather obvious that plants have free will. Don't know why that would be controversial."
(John Platko)
archibald
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 10288
Male

Country: Northern Ireland
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#29  Postby Rome Existed » Dec 02, 2013 1:41 pm

Well, atheism doesn't mean the 100% assertion that there are no gods. Many atheists are also agnostic. Would explain why they might feel some hesitation, etc on the off chance they're actually wrong. Doesn't mean they're really secretly theists though.
User avatar
Rome Existed
 
Posts: 3777

Australia (au)
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#30  Postby Agrippina » Dec 02, 2013 2:38 pm

Also there are atheists who hide their militancy in the face of a threat. I don't discuss my atheism until someone tries to sell their religion to me. Mostly I don't say anything, even when they insist on 'grace' before a meal, or make me go to church for a wedding or a funeral. I think horrible things about being made to do that, but that I'm there doesn't mean I'm participating. If I had to protect one of my kids against a threat, I'd feign belief if believing meant they'd be protected. I have done that in the past, I could do it again. Maybe I'm not enough of an atheist to be prepared to die to defend my unbelief.
Illegitimi non carborundum
User avatar
Agrippina
 
Posts: 36689
Age: 108
Female

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#31  Postby Xaihe » Dec 02, 2013 2:49 pm

archibald wrote:
chairman bill wrote:
Xaihe wrote:... This sort of question makes the subject imagine harm to themselves and their loved ones. How does that not result in an emotional reaction in most people?


My thoughts exactly


Ok, but on paper, you might think that an atheist might be less disturbed if he dared god to cause the nasty event compared to just wishing for the nasty event*. Both were tested and the former didn't come out with less of a physiological response.

*Interestingly, the atheist participants seemed to agree with this, and verbally reported that the former was less disturbing. But going by the physiological response it wasn't.

That's why I wondered if they had control groups such as

Xaihe wrote:Did they have a control group where atheists and theists asked the Invisible Pink Unicorn to do terrible things to themselves and their family?

Or the FSM, or Superman, or anything you can imagine.
Consciousness is make believe. Just think about it.
Xaihe
 
Posts: 874
Male

Netherlands (nl)
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#32  Postby archibald » Dec 02, 2013 2:57 pm

Xaihe wrote:

Xaihe wrote:Did they have a control group where atheists and theists asked the Invisible Pink Unicorn to do terrible things to themselves and their family?

Or the FSM, or Superman, or anything you can imagine.


I think the control was 'not god'.
"It seems rather obvious that plants have free will. Don't know why that would be controversial."
(John Platko)
archibald
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 10288
Male

Country: Northern Ireland
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#33  Postby Panderos » Dec 02, 2013 3:00 pm

I don't find this particularly surprising. I think the root of it is that the mind can come to separate conclusions because it has two (at least) methods for reaching them. On is the more formal, aware, application of reason we all try to use here. The other is the 'subconscious', evolved method that buzzes away in the background and that you consciously play no part in and which simply presents the conscious mind with it's conclusions.

When the two don't match up, our concept of 'belief' becomes a problem. The former might lead you to believing God does not exist. The latter might not. Then what do you believe? Probably best do away with the concept.

The reason they might not match up is that it is not necessarily in your selfish-gene interest to know the truth (1st method), whilst truth is the aim of reasoning (2nd method). I think what happens is the subconscious method takes into account the consequences of a particular thing being true as well as it's likelihood and then presents the combination of the two to you as if it is only an assessment of probability. So we are more likely to believe in things whose existence would be more significant for us than those that don't even if rationally we'd calculate the chance of existence equal for both. Hence more likely to believe in dangerous gods, witchcraft or ghosts than unicorns or other friendly things.

So, many atheists may rationally conclude there is no God, but the subconscious sees that this all-powerful, all-knowing superbeing with a penchant for sending people to eternal damnation deserves a bit of consideration. God is the ultimate thing-that-goes-bump-in-the-night. I suspect the evolution of Him into such a terrible thing is a likely by-product of this way in which our minds work.

Nonetheless I admit this leaves unanswered questions. If the subconscious of atheists is really giving the time of day to this belief, why do they go around denying his existence? That doesn't seem in the selfish-gene interest. :think:
"A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire
User avatar
Panderos
 
Posts: 2971

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#34  Postby Imza » Dec 02, 2013 3:38 pm

archibald wrote:
Imza wrote:Interesting, however I would not necessarily call having a "unconscious" conditioned response as "residual belief". I would imagine this type of left over emotional arousal would be trivially true for many different beliefs that people no longer hold.


Well, I suppose 'residual belief' would be inaccurate for someone who never believed. A lot of atheists, on the other hand, experienced a least some conditioning when they were very young.

I imagine my own 'residual belief' may stem from this. I don't mind calling it that. 'unconscious conditioned response' is good too, imo.


I would say it would be inaccurate even for someone who did once believe (as I did) but that really just comes down to what you want to call a belief. I'm arguing that an conditioned response does not equate with a conscious belief that people hold in this situation.


I can't speak for those who took part in the study (Finns, I believe). I also think it's possible to interpret the results in more than one way.

There is the possibility that we are evolved with religiosity leanings, pyschologically speaking, for example.
True, there are multiple ways to interpret the study, which in itself is very interesting but I think there are better more plausible explanations based on our prior scientific understanding of the world (using Bayesian logic) and in this case, to me it seems highly improbable to believe that a relatively trivial demonstration of conditioned response is an indicator of "residual belief" in a more robust sense of consciously, perhaps secretly still believing.
Imza
 
Name: Imza
Posts: 219
Male

Country: United States
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#35  Postby Rumraket » Dec 02, 2013 3:55 pm

archibald wrote:
Rumraket wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:Oh look. A facile attempt to suggest that because some of us sometimes entertain subconscious thoughts about Mr Invisible Magic Man (er, has this individual never heard of priming, and how this might affect the results, given that we're brought up in surroundings where magic man talk is unavoidable?), this means that we possess "beliefs" in said magic man. Fail.

I have to agree, the study fails to show any "residual belief". It really just talks about measurable increases in symptoms of agitation, which can be due to anything really. How many times have we heard testimonies from former believers who detail how the concept of hell and emotional friend/family issues stemming from leaving a deeply religious life, still some times haunt them? I'd say this result is actually fully expected.


Right. Ok. So.....you just don't like the phrase 'residual belief' because it.......seems to demean atheism

No, I don't like the phrase because that conclusion can't be supported by the data.

archibald wrote:, though at the same time, you kind of agree that's that what it may be

I don't deny the possibility, but no I actually don't agree that it "may be" other than as a mere logical possibility - where do you even get this idea?

archibald wrote:(though you prefer to stress that it may not, just in case)? :)

Imo, this just appears to be insecure atheism.

Imo you're talking out of your ass then.

archibald wrote:As far as I know, the authors are going about their business scientifically, and not apologising for religion in any way.

I'm not saying they are. You don't have to be a closet apologist to do sensationalistic reporting unsupported by data.
Half-Life 3 - I want to believe
User avatar
Rumraket
 
Posts: 13184
Age: 39

Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#36  Postby Imagination Theory » Dec 02, 2013 9:59 pm

archibald wrote:
Imagination Theory wrote:Ah, fuck, I read this part :

There is a strong tendency in the current work on supernatural beliefs to suggest that religiosity is natural. Belief in a supernatural, intentional agent is assumed to be a cognitive default, a by-product of evolutionary adaptations for social cognition that are present in all humans. Accordingly, has argued that atheism is only skin deep: whether or not people consider themselves to be atheists, their verbal self-description may have little bearing on their implicit supernatural beliefs. MORE here http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10. ... pv5tsRDtPA


Well, at least you didn't say 'oh Jesus God, I read this part'. :)

What was it about that part which bothered you? It says much the same thing as you expressed in your post just before that one?


The part he says ..."argued that atheism is only skin deep..." To me that sounds like he is saying atheists aren't really atheists, deep down they believe in God. That doesn't follow. I know I still have some remaining beliefs but that doesn't mean I believe in god, it just means I was really brain washed

And "religiosity is natural".The study doesn't show that.
Я пью за разоренный дом,
За злую жизнь мою,
За одиночество вдвоем,
И за тебя я пью, -
За ложь меня предавших губ,
За мертвый холод глаз,
За то, что мир жесток и груб,
За то, что Бог не спас.


Андре́евна

אני מתגעגע הביתה
User avatar
Imagination Theory
 
Posts: 5981

Botswana (bw)
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#37  Postby archibald » Dec 02, 2013 10:18 pm

Imagination Theory wrote:

The part he says ..."argued that atheism is only skin deep..." To me that sounds like he is saying atheists aren't really atheists, deep down they believe in God. That doesn't follow. I know I still have some remaining beliefs but that doesn't mean I believe in god, it just means I was really brain washed

And "religiosity is natural".The study doesn't show that.


Ok. I guess there's a subjectivity issue here. I don't read it like that, mainly because there's no point at which anyone says anything like 'atheists aren't actually atheists' as far as I can see.

Also, I don't think the study itself is even attempting to show that religiosity is natural. Though it may be somewhat natural, as in being an evolved tendency. This doesn't imply that it's either beneficial or adverse or neutral, though I believe one way of looking at it is that it's a misfire.

As for skin deep, I don't think it's any more disturbing than saying something like 'civilization is only skin deep'. I read it as recent, arguably an overlay on older, deeper functions, perhaps involving emotions and instincts more than intellect.

Personally, I'd prefer to substantiate my atheism in, say, a discussion with a religious person, by accepting that I may have 'residual beliefs' or whatever is the explanation, and pointing out the pitfalls of these and the benefits of reasoning and evidence, than try to deny I have any arguably irrational thoughts.

I once watched a hugely persuasive video where someone essentially deconstructed many of the ways that our brains seem to lean us towards misperceptions and superstitions and the like. I personally would think it a tad arrogant if the implication, from atheism on high, if you like, was that atheists are entirely immune.
Last edited by archibald on Dec 03, 2013 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It seems rather obvious that plants have free will. Don't know why that would be controversial."
(John Platko)
archibald
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 10288
Male

Country: Northern Ireland
Print view this post

Re: Study shows some atheists may retain residual belief in god

#38  Postby archibald » Dec 03, 2013 12:08 am

Panderos wrote:I don't find this particularly surprising. I think the root of it is that the mind can come to separate conclusions because it has two (at least) methods for reaching them. On is the more formal, aware, application of reason we all try to use here. The other is the 'subconscious', evolved method that buzzes away in the background and that you consciously play no part in and which simply presents the conscious mind with it's conclusions.

When the two don't match up, our concept of 'belief' becomes a problem. The former might lead you to believing God does not exist. The latter might not. Then what do you believe? Probably best do away with the concept.

The reason they might not match up is that it is not necessarily in your selfish-gene interest to know the truth (1st method), whilst truth is the aim of reasoning (2nd method). I think what happens is the subconscious method takes into account the consequences of a particular thing being true as well as it's likelihood and then presents the combination of the two to you as if it is only an assessment of probability. So we are more likely to believe in things whose existence would be more significant for us than those that don't even if rationally we'd calculate the chance of existence equal for both. Hence more likely to believe in dangerous gods, witchcraft or ghosts than unicorns or other friendly things.

So, many atheists may rationally conclude there is no God, but the subconscious sees that this all-powerful, all-knowing superbeing with a penchant for sending people to eternal damnation deserves a bit of consideration. God is the ultimate thing-that-goes-bump-in-the-night. I suspect the evolution of Him into such a terrible thing is a likely by-product of this way in which our minds work.

Nonetheless I admit this leaves unanswered questions. If the subconscious of atheists is really giving the time of day to this belief, why do they go around denying his existence? That doesn't seem in the selfish-gene interest. :think:


Interesting thoughts, imo. I'm sure there are numerous possible answers.

There may be a difference between the function of non-conscious processes and conscious ones.
"It seems rather obvious that plants have free will. Don't know why that would be controversial."
(John Platko)
archibald
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 10288
Male

Country: Northern Ireland
Print view this post

Previous

Return to Psychology & Neuroscience

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest