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Tags atheism , atheists , immorality , morality

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Old 7th August 2017, 05:22 PM   #1
The Big Dog
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Atheists thought immoral, even by fellow atheists: study

Here is a summary of an interesting new study that reveals that Atheists thought immoral, even by fellow atheists.

And it revealed that "atheists are broadly perceived as potentially morally depraved and dangerous."

The study measured the attitudes of more than 3,000 people in 13 countries on five continents.

They ranged from "very secular" countries such as China and the Netherlands, to countries with high numbers of believers such as the United Arab Emirates, United States, and India.


Although not terribly surprising, the conclusion that it was due to "bias" seems like wishful thinking
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Old 7th August 2017, 06:52 PM   #2
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Excuse me but the study does not support the thread title or the news title.
Quote:
Participants were given a description of a fictional evildoer who tortured animals as a child, then grows up to become a teacher who murders and mutilates five homeless people.
Half of the group were asked how likely it was that the perpetrator was a religious believer, and the other half how likely that he was an atheist.
Anyone care to point out the blatantly obvious logic fail here?
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Old 7th August 2017, 07:28 PM   #3
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Here is the actual paper referenced in the link in the OP.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0151

I look forward to your thoughts.
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Old 7th August 2017, 07:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Excuse me but the study does not support the thread title or the news title.

Anyone care to point out the blatantly obvious logic fail here?
I am not sure that folks are just going to take your word for it, can you articulate an objection?
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Old 7th August 2017, 07:36 PM   #5
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Half were asked one question, and the other half a different question?! LOL

Wow.
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Old 7th August 2017, 07:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
Here is the actual paper referenced in the link in the OP.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0151

I look forward to your thoughts.
Originally Posted by thaiboxerken View Post
Half were asked one question, and the other half a different question?! LOL

Wow.
the methodology is laid out in detail in the linked paper, can you articulate why you think the methodology is not appropriate?
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Old 7th August 2017, 07:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
the methodology is laid out in detail in the linked paper, can you articulate why you think the methodology is not appropriate?
The authors' conclusions are laid out in the linked paper. Can you articulate why you think they're "wishful thinking?"
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Old 7th August 2017, 08:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
I am not sure that folks are just going to take your word for it, can you articulate an objection?
Oh for pity's sake:

If A then B
If B does not mean then A

Or if you need it dumbed down more than that:

If animal torturing serial killer then atheist (for any number of reasons).
If atheist does not mean then an animal torturing serial killer.

The researchers asked people if the animal torturing serial killer is likely to be an atheist or a theist.

That doesn't say jack about whether people think atheists as a whole are immoral.

It could be as simple as people viewing animal torturing serial killers as being psychopaths and psychopaths not likely to care about anyone including gods.

There is a lot of BS research confirming the bias people have that somehow god beliefs make a person behave morally, as if fear of hell and/or God's wrath actually crosses peoples' minds when deciding whether to do something like steal.

Most atheists know better so I can't see how they'd see atheists as less moral.

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Old 7th August 2017, 08:08 PM   #9
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While it is possible the described perp was an atheist, it is just as/more likely he/she was a fundamentalist religionist. That (and assuming even actually true) it is basically badly biased in the description and it, at best, demonstrates how to prove there are a lot of tools and fools out there. Trumpf voters being a perfect example of the type.
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Old 7th August 2017, 08:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Oh for pity's sake:

If A then B
If B does not mean then A

Or if you need it dumbed down more than that:

If animal torturing serial killer then atheist (for any number of reasons).
If atheist does not mean then an animal torturing serial killer.

The researchers asked people if the animal torturing serial killer is likely to be an atheist or a theist.

That doesn't say jack about whether people think atheists as a whole are immoral.

It could be as simple as people viewing animal torturing serial killers as being psychopaths and psychopaths not likely to care about anyone including gods.

There is a lot of BS research confirming the bias people have that somehow god beliefs make a person behave morally, as if fear of hell and/or God's wrath actually crosses peoples' minds when deciding whether to do something like steal.

Most atheists know better so I can't see how they'd see atheists as less moral.
This definitely also!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 7th August 2017, 08:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
While it is possible the described perp was an atheist, it is just as/more likely he/she was a fundamentalist religionist. That (and assuming even actually true) it is basically badly biased in the description and it, at best, demonstrates how to prove there are a lot of tools and fools out there. Trumpf voters being a perfect example of the type.
The study was only looking at people's biases, not at actual facts.
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Old 7th August 2017, 08:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
The study was only looking at people's biases, not at actual facts.
Understood that!!! Specifically meant that the description could fit either personality format/belief system!!!
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Old 7th August 2017, 08:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
Here is a summary of an interesting new study that reveals that Atheists thought immoral, even by fellow atheists.

And it revealed that "atheists are broadly perceived as ...
It never happened. Play nice or be recognized as a Jabba-type immoral example.
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Old 7th August 2017, 11:58 PM   #14
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I was about to answer but I see SG already did.

TL;DR :
1) study is about perception of immorality, not factual immorality, which would require a study of acts by the two groups (theist , atheist)
2) They presented an utterly immoral situation from the onset which does not match believer credo and ask if it is likely to be an unbeliever. Practically a tautology. Change the story of "this guy kill prostitute in the name of god" (a real example : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Sutcliffe) and I am betting the results would be reversed. Their story is not unbiased.
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Old 8th August 2017, 12:08 AM   #15
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Here is the God that I believe in and it is an absurd joke. God was bored and created the Devil and asked the Devil for a fun idea.
The Devil answered in this manner: “You are the first unmoved mover and nothing can be without you as the first cause, right?
God: Yes!
Devil: Okay, so you caused the logic and illogical?
God: Yes!
Devil: So you can cause an illogical universe with human in it, for which you haven't created this universe and there is no Heaven, Hell, Souls or what ever. When these humans die, they die and they are no more.
God: Sweat, I will do so.
And God did so!!!

Yes, I am in practice an atheist and all that it means is that I believe differently that theists. Big deal

So if it makes you feel better to point out that some humans are amoral according to your morality, you do so. That is how you believe.
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Old 8th August 2017, 12:49 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
I was about to answer but I see SG already did.

TL;DR :
1) study is about perception of immorality, not factual immorality, which would require a study of acts by the two groups (theist , atheist)
2) They presented an utterly immoral situation from the onset which does not match believer credo and ask if it is likely to be an unbeliever. Practically a tautology. Change the story of "this guy kill prostitute in the name of god" (a real example : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Sutcliffe) and I am betting the results would be reversed. Their story is not unbiased.
Good points.
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Old 8th August 2017, 12:52 AM   #17
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I say we use this space to discuss how the Man in the Moon makes craters with his pinkie. Far more important a topic.
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Old 8th August 2017, 02:23 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
Even if your summary was correct - "So what?"
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Old 8th August 2017, 02:32 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
You might want to back that up with criminal surveys that track religiosity. As I recall prison surveys dont offer your desired outcome, perhaps due to find God aiding parole.
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Old 8th August 2017, 02:34 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
The authors' conclusions are laid out in the linked paper. Can you articulate why you think they're "wishful thinking?"
I think its the charactisation of the findings being prejudice. This is a survey of perceptions. I wonder if the OP also thinks the perceptions are grounded in fact.
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Old 8th August 2017, 03:42 AM   #21
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Regardless, even if we grant the premise of the OP, it doesn't mean that atheists are immoral, only that people think that atheists are immoral.

We all know atheists have a PR problem. This is nothing new.
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Old 8th August 2017, 03:47 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Regardless, even if we grant the premise of the OP, it doesn't mean that atheists are immoral, only that people think that atheists are immoral.

We all know atheists have a PR problem. This is nothing new.
And if that is a prevalent view in a society someone who is brought up in that society may share that perception even if they are an atheist.

A good example is how many women were against universal suffrage for women before it happened (and in countries where it is still to happen are against it).
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Old 8th August 2017, 06:11 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post

The researchers asked people if the animal torturing serial killer is likely to be an atheist or a theist.

.
No they did not, for reasons that become clear if one were to read the actual paper that I linked.
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Old 8th August 2017, 06:18 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Regardless, even if we grant the premise of the OP, it doesn't mean that atheists are immoral, only that people think that atheists are immoral.

We all know atheists have a PR problem. This is nothing new.
actually, the paper goes into some detail regarding the evolutionary advantage of religiosity as having a significant impact on the results of the study.

I of course find that their speculation regarding prejudice/bias as a cause to be unfounded.

Smoke/fire and all.
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Old 8th August 2017, 06:20 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
No they did not, for reasons that become clear if one were to read the actual paper that I linked.
No, they split that question into two separate questions and asked one to half of the participants and the other to the other half...

Doesn't affect anything SG said.
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Old 8th August 2017, 07:34 AM   #26
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I worked with a biblical literalist and he once asked me in all seriousness, if I don't believe in the word of God, why don't I just go around killing, stealing, and raping? He also told me he used to be like that before he found God. He found his morality and ethics through the process of being born again. Perhaps this stuff about atheists being immoral is simply projection on the part of frustrated religious folks that have these secret urges to do bad things? Why is it so hard to understand that we can create a moral and ethical framework that we believe to be right, and then follow it willingly (not with a threat of Hell over our heads, and the knowledge that we are born full of sin)?
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Old 8th August 2017, 07:39 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
And it revealed that "atheists are broadly perceived as potentially morally depraved and dangerous."

This is correct. We are morally depraved and dangerous. Don't you forget it.
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Old 8th August 2017, 07:40 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Porpoise of Life View Post
No, they split that question into two separate questions and asked one to half of the participants and the other to the other half...

Doesn't affect anything SG said.
Of course it does, her statement regarding the methodology was not accurate.
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Old 8th August 2017, 07:43 AM   #29
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It's best to discuss things in tiny little digestible chunks, rather than an in depth exchange. We wouldn't want to be able to keep track of who's actually wrong about anything... /s
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Old 8th August 2017, 07:45 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
.........We are morally depraved and dangerous..........
Probably in roughly the same sort of proportion as religious people are........but that wouldn't float the OP's boat.
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Old 8th August 2017, 07:47 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Imhotep View Post
It's best to discuss things in tiny little digestible chunks, rather than an in depth exchange. We wouldn't want to be able to keep track of who's actually wrong about anything... /s
I have found that it makes sense to nip wrong statements in the bud just as soon as possible.

The paper's explanation of its methodology and their reasoning for it is set forth therein, love to see some "in depth" exchange about the actual methodology.
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Old 8th August 2017, 07:58 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
Fine. At first glance the study clearly suggests that people are more likely to believe that a serial klller is an atheist than a person of religion; however, the actual methodology makes it clear that people unable to detect and avoid the conjunction fallacy are more likely to believe that a serial klller is an atheist than a person of religion. We can therefore note initially that the study is self-selecting of people who are not inclined to question their own reasoning; therefore, it's rather directly targeted at bias rather than rational analysis.

Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
Although not terribly surprising, the conclusion that it was due to "bias" seems like wishful thinking
And this is where the OP departs from evidence and strays into personal bias itself. One strong point in favour of the conclusion of bias is that mentioned above; everyone who has given other than a null response has already committed a logical fallacy in doing so. The methodology of the study ensures this, and therefore explicitly excludes the possibility that the respondent has carefully considered the question and its implications.

To determine whether the result arises from bias or from rational analysis of the facts, one might look at data that points to an objectively quantifiable difference between atheists and religious people; if one found that atheists were more moral than, or equally moral to, religious people, then the result would clearly arise from bias. The only result that would overturn a supposition of bias would be one that shows that atheists are globally and significantly less moral than the religious, and I'm unaware of any such result having been rigorously derived; on the contrary, many studies find very little difference between the morality of atheists and religious people. Given that, a general perception that atheists are less moral can only be due to prejudicial bias.

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Old 8th August 2017, 08:12 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
I'm unaware of any such result having been rigorously derived; on the contrary, many studies find very little difference between the morality of atheists and religious people. Given that, a general perception that atheists are less moral can only be due to prejudicial bias.

Dave
False dichotomy.

In fact, an alternative is suggested in the first line of the paper!

Quote:
Mounting evidence supports long-standing claims that religions can extend cooperative networks 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 .


Thus one can easily see that we are hard wired by evolution to understand that atheism is immoral.
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:23 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
False dichotomy.
Knee-jerk denialism. If the majority of people believe A and data shows A is not true, then by definition people are biased in favour of believing A.

Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
In fact, an alternative is suggested in the first line of the paper!
And qualified almost immediately, though I'm sure it's the cherry you found it most attractive to pick.

Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
Thus one can easily see that we are hard wired by evolution to understand that atheism is immoral.
Weasel words; "understand" implies a finding of fact. "Believe" would be an appropriate substitution given that no evidence of this finding is on offer.

I find it bizarre, though not surprising, that you are adamant that nobody should misrepresent the findings of this paper except for your blatant attempts to misrepresent it as proving that atheists are, in fact, less moral. It's a level of hypocrisy that my personal bias suggests to me is most prevalent among the religious; that, of course, is by no means proof that it actually is.

Dave
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:30 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post

And qualified almost immediately, though I'm sure it's the cherry you found it most attractive to pick.

Weasel words; "understand" implies a finding of fact. "Believe" would be an appropriate substitution given that no evidence of this finding is on offer.

SNIP

Dave
Qualified? You mean hand waved away, don't you? Because the studies that were presented were not qualified nor did the paper make an effort to do so.

What we see is a myriad of reasons why atheists are perceived as less moral, including the most obvious that atheists are less moral, and the fact that people are hard wired by evolution to understand that atheists are less moral.

By the way, I snipped the personal attacks, if that is all that you intend to bring to the table from here on in, don't bother.
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:32 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
Fine. At first glance the study clearly suggests that people are more likely to believe that a serial klller is an atheist than a person of religion; however, the actual methodology makes it clear that people unable to detect and avoid the conjunction fallacy are more likely to believe that a serial klller is an atheist than a person of religion.

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Not even that. It could be that they are more likely to believe that a teacher is an atheist than a person of religion.
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:34 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post

Thus one can easily see that we are hard wired by evolution to understand that atheism is immoral.
I understand the countless priests who have been molesting children over several years (and then not being punished but merely "moved" to somewhere else) as highly immoral.

What do you think about the fact that religious people, even those who swore to serve "god", can be highly immoral?
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:36 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by StackOverflow View Post
I understand the countless priests who have been molesting children over several years (and then not being punished but merely "moved" to somewhere else) as highly immoral.

What do you think about the fact that religious people, even those who swore to serve "god", can be highly immoral?
That is addressed in the study as well, did you not see that?
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:38 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
That is addressed in the study as well, did you not see that?
What a typical evasion.
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Old 8th August 2017, 08:39 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
That is addressed in the study as well, did you not see that?
What do you think about the fact that religious people, even those who swore to serve "god", can be highly immoral?
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