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Old 05-19-2017, 07:36 AM   #26
mariad
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

I do not agree completely with the study, i think it is more about the parents upbringing that children behave in a certain way. If a parent tells the child finish your lunch at school don't just give it to your friends, the child is being developed that way from a very early stage which will be with him or her towards adulthood.
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Old 05-19-2017, 07:50 AM   #27
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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Well, let's assume we make no leap in moral judgment and just keep it in the descriptive.

Then I say that accepting certain punitive tendencies is pro-social, because it benefits society as a whole (serving to deter anti-social behavior) and I apply this study's data. Now I have shown a positive correlation between religiosity and pro-social behavior using the same data-set, and that the children reared in irreligious homes are less prone to engage in pro-social behavior.

So yes, pro-social is more strictly defined, but if kept strictly in the descriptive it won't say much.
If only we had more of your reasoning around. I mean this is obvious (but well put), but it goes over the head of 90+% of people reading these studies, including the educated.

Conclusions drawn not at all warranted from the data.
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Old 05-21-2017, 11:06 AM   #28
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

I don't think things like punitive tendencies are generally considered pro-social, are they? Wikipedia cites a list of "such as helping, sharing, donating, co-operating, and volunteering". My impression was it was behaviours leaning more to you trying to help people, not ones where you hurt people directly but indirectly that harm might be argued to have some other societal benefit. Things like revenge and social shaming and threats may all be argued to have some type of social benefit along the lines but I don't think are what is meant by "pro-social".

It just seems to me your criticism is misplaced. I agree with criticizing people who confuse "pro-social" and "morally good", that just hand wave irreligious moral superiority because of this study. But your claim was that the "people" making this mistake are the authors, and that the authors are intentionally "cleverly disguising" this. I don't see that from your arguments thus far.
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Old 05-21-2017, 02:54 PM   #29
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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I don't think things like punitive tendencies are generally considered pro-social, are they? Wikipedia cites a list of "such as helping, sharing, donating, co-operating, and volunteering". My impression was it was behaviours leaning more to you trying to help people, not ones where you hurt people directly but indirectly that harm might be argued to have some other societal benefit. Things like revenge and social shaming and threats may all be argued to have some type of social benefit along the lines but I don't think are what is meant by "pro-social".
It's one thing for a parent to say that they're punishing their child for an error, and it's quite another to say that they're taking revenge on them, even if the action is the same. And this is why pro-social is such a difficult term to use effectively. The action itself is not the thing being measured, but the intention behind it. We have to do the classification of the activity ourselves, as external beings to the one actually performing the behavior.

Also, the thing that you've quoted comes from an article called "Prosocial Organizational Behaviors" (in a management journal) which is quite a different context than anything related to childhood development.

Prosocial behaviors are intended to benefit others. Whether it does or not is a much different question.
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Old 05-21-2017, 04:41 PM   #30
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

Thirty(30) stickers ??? c'mon boys ; do you really think that this study is saying anything? The only mean spirited individuals in this study are the academic ogres who have no shame and should be subject to the same test.

I have a bridge I'd like to sell to each and every one of you who somehow justify this as a proper study (statically speaking notwithstanding.

Funded by John Tempelton, too, amazing; isn't he dead ?

These guys (academics) are nothing more than a group of fifth columnists or saboteurs acting under the guise of "academic whatever".

How about it, real scientists on this forum, disavow this group of malicious malcontents who claim "science" ; the downward spiral of the "social scientist"; a contradiction in terms.

End of rant.

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Old 05-22-2017, 04:24 AM   #31
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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Thirty(30) stickers ??? c'mon boys ; do you really think that this study is saying anything? The only mean spirited individuals in this study are the academic ogres who have no shame and should be subject to the same test.

I have a bridge I'd like to sell to each and every one of you who somehow justify this as a proper study (statically speaking notwithstanding.

Funded by John Tempelton, too, amazing; isn't he dead ?

These guys (academics) are nothing more than a group of fifth columnists or saboteurs acting under the guise of "academic whatever".

How about it, real scientists on this forum, disavow this group of malicious malcontents who claim "science" ; the downward spiral of the "social scientist"; a contradiction in terms.

End of rant.
It's funded by the Templeton Foundation, not by the ghost of John Templeton. The study is also fine and I'll explain why.

We know from descriptive statistics that current secular cultures tend to be more civil and less brutal (which is the trend, not an absolute) than their religious counterparts, but it's very hard (if not impossible) to use inference on those data because the societies often differ in far more ways than religiosity. It's therefore very healthy that this study use experiment and observation as method. It gives us a better basis for potential insight.

"Meaner" and "less kind" (the words used in the press interviews) are obviously sensationalist terms, but they are not completely unwarranted. What is perhaps questionable is that it isn't explicitly stated that this doesn't translate to "less moral", which is pretty much the basis for the criticism I have voiced in this thread. Accepting harsher punishments is meaner and being less inclusive towards strangers is less kind, but neither translates to "less moral". A more reasonable conclusion is that those behaviors are a result of moral values, not the lack of them.

The study's most interesting finding is the conflict between the parents' view of their children and the children's actual behavior, which is a very interesting finding. It also mimics a discourse we often see in everyday life, the claim that loss of religion leads to loss of morals. That is a very important thing to question, because it's not a claim that seems warranted. What we instead see in studies like this is that a better phrasing would be that loss of religion leads to different morals, and perhaps even (as this study finds) that those moral values might be more accepting and inclusive in nature.

Now whether you think one of these moral values is preferable is a moral debate and not a scientific one, which my main beef with the term "pro-social behavior". It by its very name seems to indicate that one type of behavior is best, but that is actually not a part of its definition.

Last edited by tame_deuces; 05-22-2017 at 04:34 AM.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:25 AM   #32
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

I get it, and am not convinced. We are talking of 5-12 year olds; the age span, in and of itself, is a developmental and characterlogical mine field.

In so far as moral tone is concerned the human soul enters this realm at puberty and though some character traits can be seen previously it is also obvious that work is being done , by the child in his growth into manhood, to alleviate untoward behavior.

Really, I can go on but its not worth the effort for the socialistic bean counters are continuing their aberrant fight against the religious/spirit and are using children to promote their ill gotten manners.

You're telling me that this study was done properly, with some exceptions, which in turn should make it ok or plausible to the unwashed but I'm saying that its no more than a fluff piece meant to harm or hurt those who read and importantly those involved, the objects of this "science".

The aesthetics of this situation is ill will and not meant to ennoble the fellow human being . It is destructive , judgmental, and meant to harm.

The other and most important part is that the thought process of modern science are for the inorganic and when you or I decide to "study" human beings ala "social science" the methodology is specious (did I use it right here ?) for one must consider that knowledge of man or the human being is the first order of concern for a real study of the human soul, not some statistical misfit.

If someone wishes to discuss "altruism" and "egoism" it would be a good thread, as the exposure of these terms would be ennobling and even enlightening.

30 stickers to classify the child ? This alone should send the "study" into the trash bin. You can't use a "study" to know the world any more than one should wait for "science" to "prove"we digest before we eat ; of course we would then die of starvation in order to "prove" this "science", fitting. LOL

Last edited by carlo; 05-22-2017 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:42 AM   #33
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

Well, it is perhaps a bit disingenuous in the sense that they knew very well what they would find. All the traits explored here are behaviors that are fairly well known from religiosity studies beforehand. And the phrasing should have been clearer on it not translating to "less moral" but that it could also imply "different morals". I'll also note that I only read the report, I haven't read a full paper. I'd expect the full paper to contain a stronger listing of methodological weaknesses.

I'm no expert on religiosity studies but I did (or rather it is why I did) research all the names involved in the paper and they seem like well-credentialed names with relatively prestigious postings and little history of controversy.

I have seen nothing that indicates that it is somehow a "hit piece" or an attack. People imparting these behaviors on their children is no fault of the researchers, and it is certainly an interesting topic. The approach is certainly a bit pop-sciencey, intended most likely more for books, articles, press clippings and conferences than anything else - but it doesn't look like they slacked on rigor.

In short, your strong characterization seems unwarranted. Yes, there are things that likely could have been done better - but I see no conspiracy here. I can't really imagine the Templeton foundation funding such an attack anyway, it is (as I understand it) a religious organization.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:22 AM   #34
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

John Templeton was a famous fund manager (Templeton Fund) who was "knighted" and the foundation, in its mission piece, speaks to science, philosophy and religion.

Words like "conspiracy" are explosive which obfuscate the inner nature of the work; they live in the water and only know one type of water, let alone perceive the air.

https://www.templeton.org/about/vision-mission-impact
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:44 PM   #35
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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Well, it is perhaps a bit disingenuous in the sense that they knew very well what they would find. All the traits explored here are behaviors that are fairly well known from religiosity studies beforehand.
From my brief reading, previous studies show the opposite to this study.
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:40 PM   #36
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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From my brief reading, previous studies show the opposite to this study.
Can you cite some of these other studies?
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:57 PM   #37
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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I finally took a closer look at the article, and the first thing I did was look at the graph (top of page 2953). The reported r value for the religiosity/altruism correlation is -0.17. Talk about a weak correlation...

Also, what is this doing in a biology journal? Here's the description of the journal:

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Cell publishes findings of unusual significance in any area of experimental biology, including but not limited to cell biology, molecular biology, neuroscience, immunology, virology and microbiology, cancer, human genetics, systems biology, signaling, and disease mechanisms and therapeutics.
I find this to be a rather confusing set of circumstances.
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Old 05-22-2017, 05:45 PM   #38
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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Nobody should be allowed to enter a church or read a bible, unless he reached adult age.
Is this really your view?
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Old 05-22-2017, 06:29 PM   #39
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

I'd like to present this amalgam with respect to this "study" and "truth" specifically.

In our age, and for some time now, there have been two avenues to which untruthfulness rears its head.

The first is an utter dismissal of truth in thinking in favor of "effect". The enchantment is Mephistophelian or in the Hebrew "the deceiver". Goethe's Faust speaks to this approach to "truth" in which two men meet, converse on subjects; the first man has some nature of "truth" in his thinking with respect to the object of study while the other , not the least bit interested in "truth" , through "effect" changes or clouds the others mind and approach to the object of study.

This is not a matter of "convincing someone" to another position but of complete disdain for "truth" and therefore bringing forth thoughts, of any kind, to affect number one.

This is the undercurrent of this "study" which is not the least bit interested in "truth" but is looking for "effect". The question as to whether these water bearers of the Goethean or Hebrew Mephistopheles are of clear mind is doubtful , more like a criminal element whose consciousness is clouded and goes about their business; there is no respect for "truth" because in a real sense they are unable.

The second purveyor of "untruthfulness" is the carrying of and presenting of thoughts and thinking which is not related to the object of study. This can be called the "Luciferic " lie to which inner thinking lives within itself without respect to again, the object of study.

Mankind lives and has been living within the balance of these two opponents and sits between the two "enchantments" and can and does in fact proceed in both directions only to balance the matter in proper thought. You can't fight or destroy the two enchantments but an awareness of their existence and proper thought brings man to a conscious clarity of 'truth" in life and the living.

I've given the example of the study of this thread as to the "deceiver" while a seemingly simple matter of "Zeno's paradox" displays the Luciferic in which the thoughts are perfectly logical, not to be denied, but of course we all know that the hare catches the turtle.
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Old 05-23-2017, 09:43 AM   #40
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

Aren't r values typically pretty low in social science? Not sure where commonly accepted thresholds lie, but we would be pretty shocked if it had large r values....
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Old 05-23-2017, 10:10 AM   #41
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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Aren't r values typically pretty low in social science? Not sure where commonly accepted thresholds lie, but we would be pretty shocked if it had large r values....
Agree with this.
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Old 05-23-2017, 10:56 AM   #42
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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Aren't r values typically pretty low in social science? Not sure where commonly accepted thresholds lie, but we would be pretty shocked if it had large r values....
Low, yes. But r=-.17 seems REALLY low to me. That gives r^2 = 0.03. That's... pathetic? And especially since this is published in a pure biology journal (which is still the weirdest part to me).

Last edited by Aaron W.; 05-23-2017 at 10:59 AM. Reason: Whoops -- Accidentally had -0.14 the first time. That's an 18% error!
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:05 AM   #43
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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That gives r^2 = 0.03. That's... pathetic?
I just Googled "what is a good r value statistic social science." Who knows how much I should trust the first couple links, but here we go:

https://www.researchgate.net/post/wh...-squared_value

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Researchers evaluate their models based on r-square values or in other words effect sizes. According to Cohen (1992)* r-square value*.12 or below indicate low, between .13 to .25*values indicate medium, .26 or above*and above values indicate high effect size.
https://people.duke.edu/~rnau/rsquared.htm

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How big an R-squared is “big enough”, or cause for celebration or despair? That depends on the decision-making situation, and it depends on your objectives or needs, and it depends on how the dependent variable is defined. In some situations it might be reasonable to hope and expect to explain 99% of the variance, or equivalently 90% of the standard deviation of the dependent variable. In other cases, you might consider yourself to be doing very well if you explained 10% of the variance, or equivalently 5% of the standard deviation, or perhaps even less.
https://www.quora.com/What-is-an-acc...d-environments

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In the social sciences, I've seen journal publications reporting R^2 of around 0.3-0.4. So it seems that some reviewers think it "acceptable" to have values that are that low, though in my opinion in those situations, the metric is somewhat meaningless. The underlying behavior is probably nonlinear/dominated by stochasticity rather than common cause variation/has many unmodeled or unmeasured variables, so linear regression wasn't the right tool to start with. They probably even just have the wrong model type. (However, I'm told that in such situations, they are only concerned about explaning the general trend and don't really care too much about the fit or prediction).
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Old 05-23-2017, 12:27 PM   #44
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

The r squared is much less important than the p value.

http://blog.minitab.com/blog/adventu...d-low-p-values
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Old 05-23-2017, 01:41 PM   #45
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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The r squared is much less important than the p value.

http://blog.minitab.com/blog/adventu...d-low-p-values
It depends on your perspective, I suppose. If you want to focus on the p-values, we can say that we're really confident that the effect is extremely minor. I mean, at r^2 values that low, you run into the very reasonable likelihood that you're not even measuring the thing you think you're measuring because of all the ways that data can be confounded in this type of study.

It seems pretty reasonable to look at this study with a fair amount of skepticism, especially as the language becomes more and more sensational.
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:55 AM   #46
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

For an exploratory study an r-value in the vicinity of .20 is pretty decent, and you reach that in this study as the children grow older. You would typically refine your methods / variables to explore the subject matter more closely later. It should also be noted that this correlation goes directly to behavior, since experimental method is used. I.e. to put it in practical terms it'd be a good wager to bet on this behavior manifesting itself if you got 1:1 odds.

Whether the r is high or low is a bit dependent on the subject matter. For example if you studied the correlations between a medical drug and car accidents, then even values down to .10 would be strong grounds for further research and warning bells would start to go off.

The journal is in Cell because it is an exploratory study performed by neuroscientists. Jean Decety (lead author) has performed studies with the dictator game (the one used in this study) on children combined with fMri-scans of the participants. Likely the study is intended to serve as the foundation (or possible foundation) for further research using neurobiological methods.
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Old 05-24-2017, 01:14 PM   #47
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

There's an infamous example where I think it's something like batting average explains only 1% of the variance in hitting the ball on bat, the lesson being that acceptable r values really, really depend on what we are talking about. When I think about like the variance in properties like altruism, which I'm assuming is pretty enormous and more importantly very multifactorial, and then how much can you tease that back to various factors like religiosity (although I'd be curious to see how things like socioeconomic status, education, gender, etc affect this too) I don't think you should be expecting this to be a high number at all. Or to put it differently, it might be that it is pathetically low, but I don't feel confident asserting that just because it is a low number.

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Old 05-24-2017, 01:21 PM   #48
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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It should also be noted that this correlation goes directly to behavior, since experimental method is used. I.e. to put it in practical terms it'd be a good wager to bet on this behavior manifesting itself if you got 1:1 odds.
Can you explain what you mean here?
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Old 05-24-2017, 01:47 PM   #49
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

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Can you explain what you mean here?
Well, the study uses experiments - so the dependent variable is directly observable behavior in a controlled environment - you don't go the indirect route through survey answers or meta-data interpretations of different data-sets. Meaning you should trust this r more than you would something that went the indirect route through a statistical instrument of some kind. Unlike a survey (as one alternative example) you don't have researchers trying to explain why these answers there equals that behavior there, here you actually see the behavior manifested.

And with a sample size of more than 1k participants, your analyses are going to be pretty solid.
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Old 05-24-2017, 03:46 PM   #50
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Re: Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds

ah yes, that is a good feature for sure
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