01 May 2012

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: The link between science and religious (un)belief

The Thinker. Photo by marttj.
This week at the collaborative science blog Nothing in Biology Makes Sense, guest contributor Amy Dapper takes on a recent psychological study showing that people prompted to think analytically were subsequently reported less likely to report religious belief.

Their first study establishes a correlational relationship between analytic thinking and religious belief by asking participants to answer three clever questions that have an immediate intuitive, but incorrect, answer and a correct answer that requires deeper analytical processing. These questions, and their answers, can be found in the table below. The study participants then answered a survey about their religious beliefs. The results show that participants that arrive at the correct, analytical answers to the first set of questions also tend to exhibit more religious disbelief in their responses to the survey.

The results would seem to confirm the experiences of many of us working in science: when you think analytically Monday through Friday, it can be difficult to stop thinking that way on Sunday morning. For more detail on the experiments, go read the whole thing.◼

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