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thalassa
14 Aug 2011, 04:56
Though I'm of the opinion that the title of the article and the content are ill-matched (and the one, brief section in which they mesh is rather biased and subjective--WTF *is* ethical anyhow?), it is an interesting read:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,777281,00.html

Dez
14 Aug 2011, 07:01
That is poorly matched...it seems like it could have been about three really great articles if they'd drawn out and organized their material better. This is the part that was particularly interesting to me:



Boston University's Catherine Caldwell-Harris is researching the differences between the secular and religious minds. "Humans have two cognitive styles," the psychologist says. "One type finds deeper meaning in everything; even bad weather can be framed as fate. The other type is neurologically predisposed to be skeptical, and they don't put much weight in beliefs and agency detection."

Caldwell-Harris is currently testing her hypothesis through simple experiments. Test subjects watch a film in which triangles move about. One group experiences the film as a humanized drama, in which the larger triangles are attacking the smaller ones. The other group describes the scene mechanically, simply stating the manner in which the geometric shapes are moving. Those who do not anthropomorphize the triangles, she suspects, are unlikely to ascribe much importance to beliefs. "There have always been two cognitive comfort zones," she says, "but skeptics used to keep quiet in order to stay out of trouble."

That describes a very key difference between me and L, especially in the way we tackle religion. I try really hard to be more skeptical, because if left to my own devices I'd probably see signs in my breakfast cereal, while if he says something intuitive, I sit up and listen, because it only happens maybe twice a year and is usually very accurate.

DanieMarie
14 Aug 2011, 07:21
Interesting read. It's actually a very German thing I think (though applicable to everywhere) because there's growing secularism here, especially in places like Berlin, where you have a lot of people from the former East who were raised without a religion and a lot of people from all sorts of places and backgrounds, some of whom bring their beliefs with them and some of whom either don't seem to have any or or leave them at the door when they arrive. Religion is shrinking in Germany in general, even in the conservative, largely Christian South, so I can see this popping up in a German publication (the figures in the article are similar to what I've read, though other sources also say that the secular in Germany as a whole could reach up to 40%)
Also, regarding the title, it was a big basis of a question in Berlin a few years ago when there was a vote on whether to add religion classes like the rest of Germany (right now, and continuing after the vote because it was struck down, there are only ethics classes). If you really want to know though, I don't know the writer of that one but I know one of the editors of English Spiegel...maybe I can ask :P In all seriousness though, I agree...poorly matched. Something about the differences in religious and secular thinking would have been better, or even just about how secularism is spreading, since most of the article seemed to focus on that.

B. de Corbin
14 Aug 2011, 08:00
Well, there's little doubt that there are different cognitive styles - I've seen a lot of models of human perception based on the idea of different cognitive styles, like, for instance, Jung's 4 Personality Types. They all seem to make sense within there particular area of application.

What I find interesting here, though, is that this research is coming out of "market development" - the branch of psychology which is directed toward controling your behavior. I don't know why, but I find this particular branch of psychology disturbing.


Barry Kosmin is a different kind of market researcher. His data focuses on consumers targeted by companies like Lifechurch.tv or World Overcomers Christian Church TM. The sociologist analyzes church-affiliated commercial entities, from souvenir shops to television channels and worship services.

Dez
14 Aug 2011, 19:50
I found that a bit creepy, too, Corbin. It's far from surprising, though. When we have store chains figuring out everything from music to the right smells to make people want to spend money, it stands to reason that religion would get in on it, too, even if backsides in pews is vaguely more altruistic.

Medusa
14 Aug 2011, 20:45
That is poorly matched...it seems like it could have been about three really great articles if they'd drawn out and organized their material better. This is the part that was particularly interesting to me:




That describes a very key difference between me and L, especially in the way we tackle religion. I try really hard to be more skeptical, because if left to my own devices I'd probably see signs in my breakfast cereal, while if he says something intuitive, I sit up and listen, because it only happens maybe twice a year and is usually very accurate.

What's really weird is the way both Dumuzi and I go about this sort of thing. We are obviously on very different sides of the belief spectrum. Yet I would gander to say that both D and I view the world with the same skeptical eyes. In fact I would say I'm probably a tad more spiritual then he is to be quite honest.

Dez
15 Aug 2011, 06:40
I could see that...
It seems like there's more gray involved then just you're X or you're Y.