Author Topic: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?  (Read 122 times)

xSilverPhinx

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Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« on: November 09, 2017, 11:34:43 PM »
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Summary: Researcher report religious beliefs are likely to be rooted in culture and spurred on by nurture, rather than primitive gut intuition.

Previous studies have suggested people who hold strong religious beliefs are more intuitive and less analytical, and when they think more analytically their religious beliefs decrease.

But new research, by academics from Coventry University’s Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science and neuroscientists and philosophers at Oxford University, suggests that is not the case, and that people are not ‘born believers’.

The study – which included tests on pilgrims taking part in the famous Camino de Santiago and a brain stimulation experiment – found no link between intuitive/analytical thinking, or cognitive inhibition (an ability to suppress unwanted thoughts and actions), and supernatural beliefs.

Instead, the academics conclude that other factors, such as upbringing and socio-cultural processes, are more likely to play a greater role in religious beliefs.

Continues here.

Original paper here (Scientific Reports).

 
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BooksCatsEtc

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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2017, 01:01:24 AM »
I think it's probably 60/40 in favor of nurture, but that's just me guessing.
Sandy

  
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Icarus

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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2017, 04:17:12 AM »
I will raise your bet Sandy. I put nurture as a determinant way up there around 80 to 90 percent responsible for beliefs.  A child raised as an xtian will likely remain afflicted..... but that is mostly in Alabama, Mississippi,  and parts of Texas and Oklahoma. 

I suspect that education is a  major determinant in whether a belief system is maintained through out the various stages of life. ...Which brings us back to the nurture concept.  Education is predominantly achieved by individuals who have been nurtured by family or community to embrace education which influences the individual toward the more analytical way of thought.

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Dave

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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2017, 07:58:07 AM »
I am going to have to read the whole thing and go into some sort of meditative state on this one. I have been a supporter that one is born a believer or not, that the "nurture" element either reinforces or competes with the individual's natural inclinations. I base this on my own experience - once I reached the mental age of really independent thought (about seven or eight for me I think, after visits to the Natural History and Geology museums in London, before I made it to the Science Museum) and anecfotal evidence of those who have rejected the belief/unbelief status of their initial upringing.

I have net those severely conflicted by their belief, to whom it is a seemingly artificial set of vinstraints, against which their deeper "instincts" continually fight -  often making them seem more "devout" than their fellows in their cognitive struggles to conquer their "base instincts". A couple broke free, one with a sense of almost immediate relief the other after a period of serious guilt feelings associated with almost every "non-belief" thought. Most of the personal stories on forums have supported this idea in me.

Though I might be guilty of being choosey in selectiing only agreeable evidence, I have not seriously studied and analysed this subject, just going on intuition/gut feeling!

This has made me think more about the nature of abusive priests, not a good thing at 8am!
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Tank

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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2017, 08:50:15 AM »
Excellent link.
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Dave

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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2017, 11:09:00 AM »
I agree with Tank, very thought provoking!

However I am currently thinking about their use of "intuition" (versus "analytical" or as a complimentary process?), how the authors define those terms. "Intuition" for me has always meant the unconscious accumulation/association and analysis of knowledge and the seemingly instant decision making power this effects in the concious mind. Perhaps we build patterns or paradigms that we "store" that are immediately realised, nearly fully formed or ready to be suitably modified, when a matching "need" is observed.

The idea that intuition and its use has an analytical element is not new it seems:
Quote
Modern psychology   
In more-recent psychology, intuition can encompass the ability to know valid solutions to problems and decision making. For example, the recognition primed decision (RPD) model explains how people can make relatively fast decisions without having to compare options. Gary Klein found that under time pressure, high stakes, and changing parameters, experts used their base of experience to identify similar situations and intuitively choose feasible solutions. Thus, the RPD model is a blend of intuition and analysis. The intuition is the pattern-matching process that quickly suggests feasible courses of action. The analysis is the mental simulation, a conscious and deliberate review of the courses of action.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuition

Perhaps that is what they are saying and I fail to quite understand it. I, intutively, feel that analysis also forms part of the process of subconciously choosing  and weaving more than one knowledge thread into the fabric of a nascent understanding.

Is not "intuition" a double edged weapon? Does nature or nurture determined which way it swings? Gut feeling says if you have a "natural" tendency to swing towards the supernatural you will soak up influence in that direction. The opposite, of course, also applies.
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Icarus

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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2017, 02:03:14 AM »

. I have been a supporter that one is born a believer or not, that the "nurture" element either reinforces or competes with the individual's natural inclinations. I base this on my own experience
Though I might be guilty of being choosey in selectiing only agreeable evidence, I have not seriously studied and analysed this subject, just going on intuition/gut feeling!

Dave, I can not imagine that you may believe that a person is born with a preformed frame of mind.   Tell me that I have misinterpreted your comment above.  Surely we are born with no preconceived notions until we are eventually bombarded with the dogma of the community in which we were born. Hindu, Buddha, Shinto, Muslim, Christian, Morman, Adventist, FSM.....pick one. 

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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2017, 02:47:34 AM »

. I have been a supporter that one is born a believer or not, that the "nurture" element either reinforces or competes with the individual's natural inclinations. I base this on my own experience
Though I might be guilty of being choosey in selectiing only agreeable evidence, I have not seriously studied and analysed this subject, just going on intuition/gut feeling!

Dave, I can not imagine that you may believe that a person is born with a preformed frame of mind.   Tell me that I have misinterpreted your comment above.  Surely we are born with no preconceived notions until we are eventually bombarded with the dogma of the community in which we were born. Hindu, Buddha, Shinto, Muslim, Christian, Morman, Adventist, FSM.....pick one.

No, no, not born with a preset frame of mind towards belief in the supernatural but with a genetic disposition towards either "believing" or not. There is the "god gene" hypothesis https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene .

I was sent, along with my older sister to start with, to Sunday school from age five. Nothing stuck, I got a bad rep from the five different churches that I arrended over the five years this went on for asking the wrong kind of questions. And finding it hard to accept the answers I was given. My parents were not religious, it was a) "the done thing" in those days, and, b) a chance to get rid of the kids for a couple of hours or so after Sunday lunch. I just got fed up with the whole idea, nothing there that I wanted to learn, not like school.

So, even before the above hupothesis hit the news I had the idea that there were two kinds of people, those who "get" religion and those who don't. I agree that it is just a hypothesis and some important thinkers don't accept it but . . .

So, perhaps, I either lacked an active "god gene" or possesed an active "rational" one! There are other things that were lacking in my nuturing (or lack thereof) that seem to be "natural" to me and that tend me towards humanism rather than basic atheism. Others here appear to express similar traits. But then, human often look for reflections and resonances with their own nature and gravitate towatds groups where those are found, tending to see similarity and ignore differrnce if the latter is even a small part the lesser.

However, on re-reading I find that rather than say that intuition and analysis are opposites that article puts them together, just something in the description led me astray. So my previous post is not relevant to the thread anyway!  :grin:

Though it might start another one . . .
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xSilverPhinx

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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2017, 12:31:45 PM »
I also am of the opinion that natural inclinations can be strong when it comes to superstitious thinking in general. The brain abhors an explanatory  vacuum, and I think depending on a person's personality traits they can be more or less susceptible to basically making up answers and they go along, or accepting made up answers without evidence. People in general don't like uncertainty.

Add to that survival instinct coupled with an aversion to the idea of death and you might have a recipe for myths surrounding what happens afterward. Other cultures may have different views on the termination of consciousness but us westerners in general fear death, an event we have no control over...for the time being. Uncertainty surrounding survival (even after death) can lead to anxiety and existential crises in some people.

Once religion became institutionalised other factors such as population control came into play, but that's another topic.

Another thing: most people are extremely prone to groupthink. Critical, independent thinking is hard, it's a skill that has to be learnt and cultivated, while just going along with what other people say without expending the energy to question what you're hearing is easy, the path of least resistance.

Now, which religion you follow depends heavily on your geography and upbringing, there's no denying that!   
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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2017, 12:05:46 AM »
Silver, the group think concept is alive and well. In some circumstances, group think becomes mob mentality. Riots and palace revolts are born and executed thereby.  The thought process of the participants is thought to be something like this.......Because there are many of us we can spread the blame in such a way that I am not actually culpable.  That applies to riots and property destruction and perhaps lynchings by the old time KKK.

Here is an example of far out in left field group think......Spindale  North Carolina. An extremist church calling themselves Word Of Faith, makes a practice of  adopting or otherwisw scooping up orphans or children who have been taken away from their parents for whatever cause.  Social workers that have, for investigation purposes, attended the church services have been physically intimidated because the fiery woman pastor claims that the children rightfully belongs to them (though not  necessarily legally).  The members and officials of the church regularly,physically, beat and choke the children, some of them infants. They are "purifying" the sinners and causing the ever present and evil  satan helpers to exit the body of the victims of satan's work.  That church has managed to recruit 750 members in North Carolina and has about 2000 members worldwide, mostly in Brazil and Ghana.  That is a scary example of group think.  Also an example of abject cruelty in the name of the lord god our savior.

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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2017, 08:21:44 AM »
^
The "purification" by beating has happened in this country as well, it also seems to be a feature of some extreme African sects.
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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2017, 02:40:54 PM »
In my humble opinion, personal religion can be a good force if it leads a person to do good.  If it leads a person to do bad, it's bad.  When it becomes corporate religion, it has an even greater capacity for bad.  When it becomes the state religion or only cultural religion, it is almost invariably bad. 

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Re: Religious Belief: More 'Nurture' Than 'Nature'?
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2017, 03:17:39 PM »
In my humble opinion, personal religion can be a good force if it leads a person to do good.  If it leads a person to do bad, it's bad.  When it becomes corporate religion, it has an even greater capacity for bad.  When it becomes the state religion or only cultural religion, it is almost invariably bad.

Same goes for a lack of personal religion, as I have often said, it is what a person does that they should really be judged by. The foul mouthed but practically charitable atheist is far superior to the theist who says a lot, nicely, but does nothing to ease the ills of this world IMHO.

But yes, mandating any religious framework on any-one is a gross offence against humanity.
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