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Tom Gilson: Psychology almost never gets religion right


If it’s a study, mistrust it, says an editor at The Stream, citing an example:

The example comes from PsyPost’s article last month on research that “indicates religious individuals are more likely to cheat,” but that “this tendency can be diminished by prayer.” Non-believers, in contrast, cheat more after they’ve prayed.

Tom Gilson, “When to Trust Reports on Psychology and Religion? Almost Never.” at The Stream

He lists six things that are quite wrong with the study, including,

First, the researchers assigned half of the subjects to “compose a prayer,” whether they believed in God and prayer or not. The assumption, apparently, is that everyone is doing the same thing when they “compose” their “prayers.” But believers who pray aren’t just “composing.” They’re connecting with God. Unbelievers? Not so much. The act of composing a prayer means something entirely different from one group to another.

Tom Gilson, “When to Trust Reports on Psychology and Religion? Almost Never.” at The Stream

You can read the other five. It would cost US$43 to reads the study.

Gilson concedes,

Once in a while you’ll run across a good one. There’s decent research (here’s an example) supporting a connection between faith and well-being, for example. So I’m not saying you should be unwilling to find an article to be honest, well-informed and balanced on matters of psychology and faith or religion. I’m just saying you should prepare to be surprised if you do.

Tom Gilson, “When to Trust Reports on Psychology and Religion? Almost Never.” at The Stream

Yeah. Some of us remember back when religious figures were urged to make some sort of accommodation with psychology. Now that psychology has largely become one big Sokal hoax, it’s hard to see why anyone would bother.

Hat tip: Ken Francis, co-author with Theodore Dalrymple of The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd

Also: “Motivated reasoning” defacing the social sciences?

At the New York Times: Defending the failures of social science to be science Okay. So if we think that — in principle — such a field is always too infested by politics to be seriously considered a science, we’re “anti-science”? There’s something wrong with preferring to support sciences that aren’t such a laughingstock? Fine. The rest of us will own that and be proud.

What’s wrong with social psychology , in a nutshell

How political bias affects social science research

Stanford Prison Experiment findings a “sham” – but how much of social psychology is legitimate anyway?

BS detector for the social sciences

All sides agree: progressive politics is strangling social sciences


Back to school briefing: Seven myths of social psychology: Many lecture room icons from decades past are looking tarnished now. (That was 2014 and it has gotten worse since.)

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The paywalls just keep getting higher and higher. kairosfocus

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