Study finds how people engage with science can promote unbelief or beliefs about God

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Most Americans believe science and religion are incompatible, but a recent study suggests that scientific engagement can actually promote belief in God.

Researchers from the Arizona State University Department of Psychology found that can create a feeling of awe, which leads to belief in more abstract views of God. The work will be published in the September 2019 issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and is now available online.

"There are many ways of thinking about God. Some see God in DNA, some think of God as the universe, and others think of God in Biblical, personified terms," said Kathryn Johnson, associate research professor at ASU and lead author on the study. "We wanted to know if scientific engagement influenced beliefs about the existence or nature of God."

Though science is often thought of in terms of data and experiments, ASU psychology graduate student Jordan Moon, who was a coauthor on the paper, said science might be more to some people. To test how people connect with science and the impact it had on their beliefs about God, the researchers looked at two types of scientific engagement: logical thinking or experiencing the feeling of awe.

Many Americans perceive science and religion as incompatible, but a study from the ASU Department of Psychology has found that how people engage with science can change how they think about God -- and even promote belief in God. People who associated science with logical thinking were more likely to report not believing in God or that God was unknowable. But when people were awed by science, they reported stronger belief in abstract views of God. Credit: Robert Ewing, ASU

The team first surveyed participants about how interested they were in science, how committed they were to logical thinking and how often they felt awe. Reporting a commitment to logic was associated with unbelief. The participants who reported both a strong commitment to logic and having experienced awe, or a feeling of overwhelming wonder that often leads to open-mindedness, were more likely to report believing in God. The most common description of God given by those participants was not what is commonly found in houses of worship: They reported believing in an abstract God described as mystical or limitless.

"When people are awed by the complexity of life or the vastness of the universe, they were more inclined to think in more spiritual ways," Johnson said. "The feeling of awe might make people more open to other ways of conceptualizing God."

In another experiment, the research team had the participants engage with science by watching videos. While a lecture about led to unbelief or agnosticism, watching a music video about how atoms are both particles and waves led people to report feeling awe. Those who felt awe also were more likely to believe in an abstract God.

"A lot of people think science and religion do not go together, but they are thinking about science in too simplistic a way and religion in too simplistic a way," said Adam Cohen, professor of psychology and senior author on the paper. "Science is big enough to accommodate religion, and religion is big enough to accommodate science."

Cohen added that the work could lead to broader views of both science and .


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More information: Kathryn A. Johnson et al, Science, God, and the cosmos: Science both erodes (via logic) and promotes (via awe) belief in God, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2019.103826
Citation: Study finds how people engage with science can promote unbelief or beliefs about God (2019, July 18) retrieved 19 August 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-07-people-engage-science-unbelief-beliefs.html
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Jul 18, 2019
Reporting a commitment to logic was associated with unbelief
Well, that's a relief. My faith in humanity is restored.

The participants who reported both a strong commitment to logic and having experienced awe, or a feeling of overwhelming wonder that often leads to open-mindedness, were more likely to report believing in God.
Oh. Perhaps not. "open-mindedness" shouldn't mean including "open to stupid beliefs", like flat Earth and the tooth fairy being real etc but should mean "open to alternative RATIONAL beliefs".

"A lot of people think science and religion do not go together,
And they are right.

[q/]but they are thinking about science in too simplistic a way and religion in too simplistic a way," No, they are thinking incorrectly about what science and/or religion is.
"Science is big enough to accommodate religion"
Only if you abandon real science in favor of twisted pseudo-science nonsense.

Jul 18, 2019
and religion is big enough to accommodate science."
Only if religion evolves to become science (unlikely) in which case the said 'religion' will cease to be a religion.

scientific engagement can actually promote belief in God.
only to the irrational.

I for one have had "feelings of awe" without getting stupid beliefs.

Jul 18, 2019
these people are not feeling awe at scientific/mathematical concepts. I feel awe at scientific/mathematical concepts; this is what most god believers cannot understand, in fact, refuse to understand , god is about ignorance, it's a play on ignorance, it's saying you cannot learn nature, and you should not learn nature - see the Ten commandments for that, most people don't read the ten commandments very well, at the very beginning is "don't question me", and "don't pattern your gods after the sun, moon, stars and nature,


Jul 18, 2019
god believers are always trying to make a deal to get people to believe in their god; that's all this is - another mental trick to get people to believe in god. Usually, their mental tricks are "believe and you will believe", others are hell and damnation, sex tricks like "oh were you attracted to that women?" Yes, I have been attracted . . . "then according to the Ten commandments, you've committed adultery"

Jul 18, 2019
I've gone through most of the major scientific accounts of, well, the bible, and put together all the primary source confirmed facts in my Gospel of Truth here -

https://wwwscient...dit.html


Jul 18, 2019
"Study finds how people engage with science can promote unbelief or beliefs about God"

It's not a great start when the title is ungrammatical.

Perhaps use "Study finds that engaging with science can promote unbelief or beliefs about God."

or "Study finds that when people engage with science it can promote unbelief or beliefs about God."

Jul 18, 2019
@humy,
Open-mindedness has nothing to to with "stupid beliefs" or the lack thereof. Look up the definition of 'open-minded'.

Jul 18, 2019
@humy,
Open-mindedness has nothing to to with "stupid beliefs"
That's what I said (with "...but should mean "open to alternative RATIONAL beliefs" " )

Jul 18, 2019
Time is real, endures eternally, while space is contingent and derivative. Many real universes ago an entity evolved able to persist between universes super-naturally. Our universe does not admit the supernatural but God persists.

Our Father, Creator, God who art in Heaven, our Universe, with us, hallowed be thy Name. ... on Earth as it is in Heaven. ... ... For ever and ever. Amen.

Jul 18, 2019
"Most Americans believe science and religion are incompatible"

And most Americans are closed minded and basically stupid.
They substitute one "religion" for another, if you assume the definition of religion is "believing in something that you can't prove.".
The belief in "science" when in fact if you dig into the "studies" that are highly speculative and not really proven, but because someone has called it "science" they believe it.

I certainly have my doubts about religion and God and such, but I also have doubts about "science". What we know is certainly limited. There is more unexplained than explained.

My Dad believed in both science and God, and he was far from a crazy "believer". You people that have such closed minds use a rationality like people used before "science was widely accepted". As in that person believes in something I don't believe in, so by (my) definition they are crazy.

Jul 19, 2019
Our understanding is faulty. Since the time you enter school, you will spend 25 or more years of scientific study before you have the theoretical minimum to understand some of our basic questions. When you don't have that skill you depend on other people to provide beliefs and evidence. Emotion is not evidence. We have proven many things in Archaeology, Astronomy, Cosmology, Quantum Mechanics, Relativity, gene sequencing... We have seen many wonders from Hubble, CMB, New Horizons, gravity waves, LHC and none of theese things are lies. Make things simple. Read the beginning of Genesis. It is short and you might not understand it. See if you can match holographic universe, first light, first stars reionization event,eukaryotic cells, Cambrian explosion of life, energy and dark mass that lacks information, Y chromosome human bottleneck event, then ask, how can a man educated in ancient Egypt write down the history of the universe, Who was the 13.799 billion year old observer.

Jul 19, 2019
Many real universes ago...
Doug_Nightmare

How do you know there was "Many real universes ago"?

...an entity evolved able to persist between universes super-naturally. Our universe does not admit the supernatural but God persists.
How would you know any of this? Have any science links explaining evidence for this?

Jul 19, 2019

The belief in "science" when in fact if you dig into the "studies" that are highly speculative and not really proven,
ChrisSomeone

The above assertion shows you have no idea what science is. Science isn't a scientific theory but rather, by definition, is the knowledge formally obtained via what is called scientific method. Therefore, it makes no sense to say science is "highly speculative and not really proven" (because its knowledge from a method rather than itself a scientific theory). If you refute this, just look up what is called "scientific method", which is what the whole of science is based on, and came back to us to try and explain to us scientists here in what sense scientific method is "highly speculative and not really proven". Do this now by reading this;

https://en.wikipe...c_method

Jul 19, 2019
My Dad believed in both science and God,
Well nobody is perfect.

Jul 19, 2019
I know Americans like to draw strict lines between people and ideologies but I see no problem in believing in god and science. Most people here seem to think that god = bible so that if you believe in any god you also believe everything the bible says. But that's just plain wrong.

One can believe in big bang or constant universe or electric universe or evolution or whatever but that does not mean one would not believe in some higher "force". I consider myself non-religious but I like to tease myself with the idea that we are just a simulation running on some higher life-forms computer. That is basically believing in some kind of a god.

In the end, until someone proves that universe came to existence by itself, no one can deny that maybe a god made it.

KBK
Jul 19, 2019
"The researchers suggest their results show that great apes are capable of social bonding when participating in shared events. They suggest that such types of social bonding have deeper evolutionary roots than has been realized. They also suggest that their findings hint at what is lost as humans cease participating in shared social events, preferring instead to engage privately in social media. "

https://phys.org/...eos.html

And that is where all your isolated pushy, opinionated unrelenting and insistent wanking is coming from. Staring at your cell phones.

In your little boxes.

Divide and conquer.

Social media is the end of the tie that binds us into a group functionality.

The functionality that works (via your very wiring) has been stripped away, and individualized coding for manipulation and power has taken it's place.

I see it right here in this comment section.

Every single day, in every single post.

Jul 19, 2019
Among other things, those who accept "science" without question insists blacks are necessarily spiritually, emotionally, ehtically, intellevctually the same as whites although no experiment ever indicates that, and they will not even say the word "chemtrails" with respect to the depraving of the weather.
Too, ccepting the presence of God does not necesarily mean religion. No origin story had Adam and Eve created sitting in a pew holding prayer books. God wants inherent spirituality and ethic, not something requiring ceremony and rites.
And, note, humans always had abilities to sense things like heat, weight, length, brightness, that inanimate machines do. Some accept the presence of God because it's true. Those who don't accept His presence have damaged or destroyed their ability to sense in that area.

Jul 19, 2019
Naturalism never made the difference. Deism, non-deism, it doesn't matter.

Honestly I think the public are just mis-informed. Physics can inform us what is serendipitous. In some interpretations, it can even commensurate, what most would consider "woo" for a closed form. Design is a constraint.

The more serious problem is one of moral ethics. There exist directed energetic "nonlethal" weapons being used on people unbeknownst to them, in their homes, in their beds, for the perception of "control." It is most unfortunate the narrative stream is but one of many, and that language is also constraint. Individuals feigning demi-human, with what is actually sick, cruel, parlor tricks that result in other more severe symptoms, such as sleep deprivation, low red blood cell count, and tinnitus.
Here I am with Michigian Law:
Public Law 256 2003 and 257 2003
The person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment from 15 years to life.
Its rape and assault. It is measurable.

Jul 19, 2019
""Science is big enough to accommodate religion, and religion is big enough to accommodate science.""

Notably the paper has nothing to say on this. But the psychology authors does their science a disservice by using the old and irrelevant religious bait-and-switch between confusing what all scientists find and what some scientists may think.

And it is less than 10 % of the best scientists in still religious US that think that way so not the consensus that matter. Besides the inconsequential matter of religiosity display, science has found that the universe is 100 % mechanistic [Planck 2018; a robust result]. In less religious nations such as Scandinavia with successful sciences and societies, AFAIK science promotes science awe.

To no one's surprise, this useless work is financed by the religious promoter of superstition 'as compatible with science' Templeton Foundation: "We gratefully acknowledge the support of the John Templeton Foundation, Grant #52153."

Jul 19, 2019
Of course the thread was to the superstitious like rotten meat is to flies:

Many real universes ago


Starts with errors on nature and then veers into superstitious motivated errors on nature [there are no 'gods', see my previous comment].

most Americans are closed minded and basically stupid.


Starts with an unsupported claim on nature and then veers into superstitious motivated errors on nature [there are no 'gods', see my previous comment].

- tbctd -

Jul 19, 2019
- ctd -

In the end, until someone proves that universe came to existence by itself, no one can deny that maybe a god made it.


What would "come into existence" mean, and how would you test it? Going back 14 billion years, all we see is existence, so why would we not expect that to continue and what would it mean if existence does not continue?

In fact, Planck 2018 rejected everything but a slow roll inflation before the Hot Big Bang, which is an eternal process. So no one can deny there is no magic involved, as per my previous comment. Have you ever studied the relevant sciences or these results in particular? The first two decades of this century had science do the same number on religious superstition as it did the previous century on astrology superstition: neither works, neither has room for mechanism. They are (self)delusion.

The more serious problem is one of moral ethics.


And this does not make sense, making it if possible even more irrelevant than the paper.

Jul 20, 2019
god believers are always trying to make a deal to get people to believe in their god; that's all this is - another mental trick to get people to believe in god. Usually, their mental tricks are "believe and you will believe", others are hell and damnation, sex tricks like "oh were you attracted to that women?" Yes, I have been attracted . . . "then according to the Ten commandments, you've committed adultery"


I do not know about that. It looks to me that the people that do not believe in God go around trying to convince the others the God does not exist. I have been around a lot of religious people, and they never tried to convince me.

Jul 20, 2019
I have been around a lot of religious people, and they never tried to convince me
Never heard of Billy Graham, Benny Hinn, Joel Olsteen etc. etc. etc? The whole point of evangelism - is to bring the sinners into the fold.

Many atheists see the correlation between god belief - and really bad shit. There is a reason they yell Allahu akbar right before pulling the pin - and taking out some more unbelievers. So engaging in an exchange of ideas - with the goal of moving humanity forward - seems like something we should encourage. Hell - Let Benny Hinn have his crazy rallies - it makes the case that much easier for us atheists. https://www.youtu...Q9Cxz5So

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