Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [evol-psych] Science of Religion: Final Comments

Expand Messages
  • steve reiss
    Mcmir did not read my article (or even the newspaper stories on the article) prior to writing the comment. My article directly states that the theory is about
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 30, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Mcmir did not read my article (or even the newspaper
      stories on the article) prior to writing the comment.
      My article directly states that the theory is about
      religious experiences and has no implications for the
      validity or invalidity of religious beliefs. I am not
      arguing against God or religion; I am trying to
      understand what it is about human nature that makes
      large numbers of us religious.

      As for why people should want to understand the
      psychological basis for religion, the fact is that
      they do. Many scientists have offered analysis, but
      unlike mine, they are not falsifiable. This means the
      theory will not be modified as a consequence of no
      knwoeldge; mine will be modified and changed. Clergy
      use psychology when they develop strategies to build
      their congregation. Thousands of people provide
      religious counseling and their activities might
      benefit significantly from greater scientific study of
      religion. People are dying everyday in hospice and
      hosptials -- my theory is being applied to help these
      people in their last days, which is part of what
      pastoral counseling is about.

      Universities have many religious students who would
      like to study religion. Unfortunately, psychological
      science standards have discouraged the study of
      religion because of the absence of a falsifiable
      models. The students have been guided to study issues
      not central to meaningful religious experience -- such
      as statistics of Church attendance -- rather than
      address the central issues. My theory provides
      interested students with the means to study religion
      and meet or exceed usual scientific standards for
      thesis research. Already, a number of students have
      notified me of their interest.

      Every time science has been applied to a new area,
      some people have not wanted to know. I have no
      quarrel with people who do not want to know the
      results of such future studies. It is not valid,
      however, to argue that nobody should want to know the
      scientific basis of religion just because you don't
      want to know. As to why other people want to do things
      you, Mr. Mcmir do not want to do, read my theory -- it
      is all about individuality of values.

      Steven Reiss
    • Wade Allsopp
      ... I don t find it very mysterious at all. Religious beliefs may indeed not be scientific, but they usually involve claims about the world and how it works
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 1 4:12 AM
      • 0 Attachment
        mcmir@... wrote:

        > It's a mystery to me as to why people continue to treat religion as a
        > field that is parallel to physics, psychology or even sociology. The
        > beliefs themselves have nothing to do with science and as such should
        > not be evaluated based on their veracituy, but rather, on what impact
        > having those beliefs has on the believer.

        I don't find it very mysterious at all. Religious beliefs may indeed
        not be scientific, but they usually involve claims about the world and
        how it works which are factual claims (such as "praying works" or "water
        can be turned into wine") as well as putting forward some philosophical
        world views. Over the centuries as science has pushed forward our
        understanding of the universe and philosophy has begun to sort out many
        conceptual muddles, the claims made by religions have come to look more
        and more implausible and indeed self contradictory particularly to those
        with a good training in science or western philosophy.

        Of course a minority of scientists and (I would conjecture) I much
        smaller minority of western philosophers still have some sort or
        religious belief and that indeed is an interesting phenomenon. My
        casual observation is that most of these people are from "cultural
        identity" faiths such as Judaism or have pretty watered down and vague
        "spiritual" religious views. I would be interested if anyone knows of
        any empirical reseach in this area. What seems to be the case is that
        some people are able to compartmentalise their religious beliefs and not
        subject them to the kind of critical thinking and evidence based
        scrutiny that they subject their other beliefs to. I agree that it is
        an open question whether or not this is a good and/or healthy thing for
        themsleves or indeed society.

        Wade Allsopp
        London
      • steve reiss
        Phil, I think this is the central issue in psychology -- how many intrinsic (end, fundamental) motives are there. I have a forthcoming paper, Multifaceted
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 1 11:09 AM
        • 0 Attachment
          Phil,

          I think this is the central issue in psychology -- how
          many "intrinsic" (end, fundamental) motives are there.
          I have a forthcoming paper, "Multifaceted nature of
          intrinsic motivation: The theory of 16 basic desires,"
          that addresses this issue comprehensively and explains
          why I do not reduce the 16 desires to a few basic
          categories. The 16 basic desires predict with unusual
          accuracy how people will behave and, especially,
          interact and relate to each other. A recent, exciting
          application is the use of the Reiss Profile by Mainz
          professional soccer team in Germany. The Profile
          helped the coach interact effectively with his each
          player on his team, which won its divisional title and
          moved into the German highest league, with the coach
          swearing by the accuracy of the Profile. The Profile
          (16 basic desires) predicted who has a propensity to
          make a penalty in the heat of battle, who would jump
          to another team at the first offer of a better salary,
          who would take unnecessary risk under pressure, who
          would "choke" under pressure, who might be a good
          leader, and that the creation of a day care center at
          the ballpark would go a long way to building team
          morale (it did.) If we reduced the 16 basic desires
          to three categories, we would lose this detail of
          predictive power, especially for human interactions.
          If you think you can address these questions, I
          encourage you to go ahead and develop your ideas. The
          purpose of a theory is to encourage people to study
          important issues, not to put down absolute truths, and
          we welcome constructive criticism from people who have
          looked at the theory. Although my own viewpoint is
          that we should not reduce the desires to a few
          categories, thoughtful debate on this issue is needed,
          because as I argue in my forthcoming paper, this is
          the central issue for motivation theory and, thus,
          predicting human behavior, because nearly human
          behavior is an expression of deeply help values, and
          motives and values are closely connected phenomena.

          Steven


          --- "Phil Roberts, Jr." <philrob@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > steve reiss wrote:
          >
          > >> David Winslow Sr. wrote, "I read over your zygon
          > >> paper. It seems an interesting set of ideas to
          > me. A
          > >> useful model perhaps, but I was disappointed by
          > all
          > >> the assertions of a subjective and unverifiable
          > >> nature. The theory refers to 16 basic desires,
          > which
          > >> for me begs the questions of why not 17, or could
          > not
          > >> all the desires be learned subdivisions of just a
          > few
          > >>desires."
          > >>
          >
          >
          > > 1. In my paper I point out that the 16 basic
          > desires
          > > were derived empirically through a series of
          > factor
          > > analysis. There were four exploratory factor
          > > analysis, four separate confirmatory factor
          > analysis
          > > with independent samples from two countries, and
          > two
          > > scales (self-report and ratings by others.)
          > > Subsequently, each of the factors was separately
          > > validated against behavior. These validations are
          > now
          > > mostly peer reviewed and working their way into
          > the
          > > literature. This is not "subjective." Many people
          > who
          > > have worked with the Reiss Profile measurement,
          > > moreover, believe it is by far the most accurate
          > > personality test they have seen.
          > >
          >
          > In an earlier post I suggested that your 16 basic
          > desires
          > could be further reduced to just three types of
          > desires.
          > I'm wondering how this would square with your
          > earlier
          > remark that a major problem with psychology has been
          > with its insistence on trying to explain everything
          > in
          > terms of a few basic basic motivatations.
          >
          > Here is a repeat of my earlier post:
          >
          >
          +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
          >
          >
          > I think [Stever's 16 basic desires] can be reduced
          > much further,
          > but only by incorporating a need/desire group which
          > doesn't square
          > very well with are preconceived Darwinian
          > expecations, the
          > need/desire for self-worth/self-esteem/ self-value/
          > self-identity,
          > etc. Reiss's 16 needs, etc. might then be listed
          > under three
          > general headings as follows:
          >
          > A. emotional needs/desires (self-worth/self-esteem,
          > etc):
          >
          > power
          > independence
          > acceptance
          > order
          > honor
          > idealism
          > social contact
          > family
          > status
          > vengeance
          > romance
          >
          > B. intellectual needs/desires:
          >
          > curiousity
          >
          > C. physical needs/desires:
          >
          > eating
          > physical exercise
          >
          > The only one left, tranquility (peace of mind),
          > would simply be
          > the end point desired by the satisfying all of the
          > above.
          >
          >
          +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
          >
          > For me, an empirical test of this simple (perhaps
          > too simple)
          > reduction would simply be to have someone in this
          > egroup
          > offer up an example of something they have thought
          > or done
          > in the past several years that could not be
          > explained in
          > terms of one of these three. Of course, this is
          > based on
          > the bizarre out of fashion idea that a scientist of
          > the
          > mind should actually observe one every now and then.
          > :)
          >
          > PR
          >
          >
          > --
          >
          >






          __________________________________
          Do you Yahoo!?
          New and Improved Yahoo! Mail - 100MB free storage!
          http://promotions.yahoo.com/new_mail
        • Fred Britton
          ... I have long had an interest in these sorts of questions. I m not aware of all the latest empirical research in this area, but here are some references to
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 1 11:23 AM
          • 0 Attachment
            At 07:12 AM 7/1/04, Wade Allsopp wrote:
            > I would be interested if anyone knows of
            >any empirical reseach in this area. What seems to be the case is that
            >some people are able to compartmentalise their religious beliefs and not
            >subject them to the kind of critical thinking and evidence based
            >scrutiny that they subject their other beliefs to. I agree that it is
            >an open question whether or not this is a good and/or healthy thing for
            >themsleves or indeed society.

            I have long had an interest in these sorts of questions. I'm not aware of
            all the latest empirical research in this area, but here are some
            references to data on the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) of scientists:

            ********************
            Quoting from the following link:

            http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/sci_relig.htm

            Leading Scientists Still Reject God

            [Summary of a paper that appeared in the 23 July 1998 issue of Nature by
            Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham: "Leading Scientists Still Reject God."
            Nature, 1998; 394, 313.]

            Larson and Witham present the results of a replication of 1913 and 1933
            surveys by James H. Leuba. In those surveys, Leuba mailed a questionnaire
            to leading scientists asking about their belief in "a God in intellectual
            and affective communication with humankind" and in "personal immortality".
            Larson and Witham used the same wording [as in the Leuba studies], and sent
            their questionnaire to 517 members of the [U.S.] National Academy of
            Sciences from the biological and physical sciences (the latter including
            mathematicians, physicists and astronomers). The return rate was slightly
            over 50%.

            The results were as follows (figures in %):

            BELIEF IN PERSONAL GOD..........1914...1933...1998

            Personal belief................................27.7.....15......7.0
            Personal disbelief............................52.7.....68.....72.2
            Doubt or agnosticism.......................20.9.....17.....20.8

            BELIEF IN IMMORTALITY................1914...1933...1998

            Personal belief ................................35.2......18......7.9
            Personal disbelief.............................25.4......53.....76.7
            Doubt or agnosticism........................43.7......29.....23.3

            Note: The 1998 immortality figures add up to more than 100%. The misprint
            is in the original. The 76.7% is likely too high.

            The authors elaborated on these figures:

            Disbelief in God and immortality among NAS biological scientists was
            65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was
            79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest were agnostics on both issues, with few
            believers. We found the highest percentage of belief among NAS
            mathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0% in immortality). Biological scientists
            had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% in immortality), with
            physicists and astronomers slightly higher (7.5% in God, 7.5% in immortality).

            Larson and Witham close their report with the following remarks:

            As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging the
            teaching of evolution in public schools.... The booklet assures readers,
            'Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral'.
            NAS president Bruce Alberts said: 'There are many very outstanding members
            of this academy who are very religious people, people who believe in
            evolution, many of them biologists.' Our survey suggests otherwise."

            [Other links re Scientific American Article]:
            ********************

            Scientific American: Scientists and Religion in America
            Larry Witham

            http://www.mslit.com/details.asp?bookid=1591761662

            ********************
            Scientists and Religion in America : A Scientific American article
            Price: $4.99
            Price Drop Alert
            by ibooks, inc.
            Release Date: 01 May, 2002
            Sales rank: 13,803
            Catalog: Ebook
            Media: Digital
            Author: Edward J. Larson, Larry Witham
            ASIN: B00006BNPH

            http://www.booksmags.com/books/shop3206/pdB00006BNPH/Books/Science/

            ********************
            A number of years ago, perhaps 25 years or so, I recall reading about a
            survey in which it was found that the highest percentage of atheists was
            found among psychologists as compared with other academic pursuits, but
            I've never been able to find the reference since then. Does anyone else
            know anything about such a study?

            Fred Britton
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.