UBC study finds Christians distrust atheists as much as rapists! WTF?

I listened to this story on the CBC the other day but it took me some time to blog about it. This just blows my mind…

A UBC study has drawn some startling results finding that religious people(Christians to be precise) trust atheists about as much as sexual criminals. And in the same study they found that atheists don’t judge people’s trustworthiness based of their religious affiliation.

I don’t quite get why believers in god don’t trust atheists, but the researcher has guessed that people that think a deity looks over them and judges their behaviours can be trusted more than someone that doesn’t think a deity is looking over them.

It shocks me that people are more trusting of behaviour judged by an unseen and unproven deity, than by the laws governing our society?

Here is a summary of the article from the Vancouver Sun.

Religious believers distrust atheists more than members of other religious groups, gays and feminists, according to a new study by University of B.C. researchers.

The only group the study’s participants distrusted as much as atheists was rapists, said doctoral student Will Gervais, lead author of the study published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

via Do Christians believe in atheists? UBC study finds believers distrust atheists as much as rapists | Vancouver Sun.

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Photo of the day Aug 13, 2011- Reading a book?


Today, a friend of mine posted a comment of Google+ that she was reading a book about vaccinations. I can’t explain the reason why, but whenever someone tells me they are reading a book, I get jealous. Perhaps it is because I ‘think’ I don’t have the time to sit and read. Truthfully, I don’t make the time. I probably read 2 or 3 books a year.

Books take dedication. Time. Concentration. Patience. They also provide a sense of calm, use of imagination, and the opposite experience we get with computers, the internet, and technology, which is always looking for the quick solution, and answer.

Later in the day, my wife and I were looking for a baby names book stashed in a bunch of boxes in the corner of the living room. I came across the book above. It is my wife’s, but I never knew she owned it.

As many of you know, I’m an agnostic atheist. In other words, I am absolutely certain there is no god from what I understand of the world, but can accept that I may be wrong. I live my life as an atheist, and don’t have any need to try and find any other explanation of the creation of human life. I believe I know, and have piece of mind in this belief.

One thing that I have had an interest is called ‘atheistic buddhism’. From my brief look at the topic, buddhism at it’s core is not about what happens before or after life, but deals with living in the now. It has nothing to do with gods, praying, or worship. It deals with, well, I guess I’m going to find out what it is really about…

This really interests me, so tonight I’m going to start reading “Buddhism. Plain & Simple” – The Practice of being aware, right now, every day. – by Steve Hagen

If I become enlightened, I’ll blog all about it… 😉

Morality and Religion. A video on why religion is not moral

Here is a video I found over at Friendly Atheist about morality and belief in a morally perfect god. I liked the video and thought I would share. I especially liked the accent of the narrator!

A friendly Easter request.

Easter eggs
Image via Wikipedia

Today I went to Victoria, BC to do some shopping. I always end up wandering into book stores. I don’t know why. I almost never buy anything. I usually see if the store has Moleskine notebooks. If they don’t, I mentally grade them a C. Munro’s Books on Government Street gets an A+ for sure. Continue reading “A friendly Easter request.”

Why did I start blogging? Why do I continue?

WordPress.com 3 Million Blogs
Image by josephscott via Flickr

Why did I start blogging? This question has a few meanings to me. Why did I start a blog in the first place? I really can’t remember the reason I started. It has been over 4 years I think. I believe I started after getting the idea to re-live my university years and wanted to create a web presence. So I bought my old radio announcer name, larrinski. I owned my own domain! Woot! larrinski.org was born.

I really had nothing to say though. Much like when I was on the air! haha. Sometime I question if I still do, but back then it was pretty grim. I didn’t know how to add images to a post, or how to even do hyperlinks. I used the blog as a way to share funny things with people, and make comments about the world around me. Essentially, what I post on Twitter and Facebook now. I have always had a fascination with computers and I took the opportunity to learn about HTML, Perl, FTP, etc…

I got the great idea that I was getting a following and boy, I thought I was witty! I had better start saying something important, damn it. I bought my 2nd domain, atheist.nu, and started posting all about religion, science, evolution and attempted to be an authority on atheism. Apparently, other than a few people that followed me on various webrings, I attracted no audience. My aggressive atheism was funny for me, but my social life was suffering…lol.

I continued along this vein for a couple of years and bought my 3rd domain, end-of-silence.org. It was my attempt to speak out about the militaristic and evangelical religious movement taking over the USA. George W. Bush was one of my favourite targets, but let’s be honest, he was for every blogger out there. Hence, I had no one visiting the site. But, man did I ever do lots of posting. I started using blogging as an excuse to not deal with my personal life. I spent my lunches researching and coming up with content, and the evenings not talking to my then-wife( now ex-wife…). Looking back to that stage of my blog, the frustrations in my life came out in my obvious passion in debating and even arguing with people about religion, intelligent design, evolution and anything else that bothered me!

Crap, I’m seeing a theme here. No one gave a shit whether I had a web site, including EVERYONE around me. lol. What was I? 1 in 10,000,000 blogs out there? I essentially gave up.

What changed? Almost 2 years later I have started getting a bit of a following online, and enjoy blogging a lot! Why? Because, I decided that I don’t give a shit if I get 1 visitor or 500 in a day. I also decided that I wasn’t going to blog about just one thing. Atheism, religion, technology. Why get so bent out of shape? I don’t care about what people believe so much anymore. I can let it slide(most of the time…). So, I got rid of all my themed sites, atheist.nu, end-of-silence.org, and larrinski.org, and just bought my name. The real me. pakos.me. I decided I was going to blog about whatever comes to mind. If you like it, great! If not, maybe it will start a dialogue.

Why did I start the WordPress.com challenge Postaday2011? Why did I start daily blogging? Good question! It’s like, OMG!!Why did I sign up for this? Because I like blogging. Sometimes it feels easy to come up with a post. Other days(like yesterday), I had to scramble for a topic to write. Kind of like when I was in school. There are days when I feel like the night before an essay assignment is due at school. You remember those days? You stare at a blank page (a blank post in this case), and have to come up with something? I have to write an essay everyday now! It is a unique challenge, and I think I am up for it. Today I have gone 18 days straight. A record for me.

Thanks for checking out the site, I appreciate it…Let me know what you think. What topics have you followed here and want me to write more about? GTD, evolution, atheism, corporate overlords? If I’m gonna post everyday all year, I need some assistance from my loyal 3 visitors. 😉

Belief depends on who gets to you first

Richard Dawkins giving a lecture based on his ...
Image via Wikipedia

I just had a friend send this article posted today on The Globe and Mail. I normally don’t quote them, let alone post the article, but seeing that most of my readers are more sceptical I thought reposting this would be a good thing…

I have always loved the argument that it must be ‘purely coincidental’  that most kids are of the same religion as their parents…OK, no coincidence at all. lol. The article by Scott Bakker points to research that seems to outline that your religion, beliefs etc… stem from who gets to you first to make sense of the topic at hand

So without further ado, here is Scott Bakker’s article…

Science, the cruel stranger

SCOTT BAKKER

The secularist left was caught flatfooted in 2000, when George W. Bush’s election demonstrated, in quite dramatic fashion, that the political organization of the Christian evangelical movement was paying real dividends in American politics. Ever since, there has been a rush to the cultural barricades. Figures such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens may garner all the headlines, but the real work, I would hazard, is being done in postsecondary classrooms around the world, where it has become almost obligatory to make religious fundamentalists the butt of sarcastic asides

Even though this cultural tug of war is undoubtedly an important one, for many people, especially those involved or interested in the growing field of cognitive neuroscience, there is something decidedly old-fashioned about the whole affair.

Belief has itself been the object of scientific study for several decades now. During this time, a veritable mountain of evidence has been amassed, most of it supporting what the ancient Greek skeptics argued thousands of years ago: Human beings are theoretical invalids.

The research suggests that what we believe typically depends on who gets to us first and how the issue is framed, which is why Christians typically come from Christian households, Muslims from Muslim households, and so on. Once we commit to this or that belief, our myriad biases and the complexity of the world assure that we can always convince ourselves of our rectitude. Not only do we game ambiguities, cherry-pick evidence and make inferences where none exist, we even rewrite our memories to bolster our cherished convictions. Our feeling of certainty, that sense of lucid, “but-it-has-to-be!” clarity you get when you think about God or economic justice or what have you, typically has little or no connection to the cogency, let alone the truth of the claims that trigger it.

Nevertheless, everyone but everyone thinks they have won what I like to call the Magical Belief Lottery. We all assume that we have somehow, by dint of disposition or education or revelation, lucked into the winning combination of beliefs. This is as true of university professors and their classes as it is of evangelical ministers and their congregations.

I urge anyone who feels offended or incredulous to check out the research themselves. A number of popular titles on the subject have been released in recent years, such as Cordelia Fine’s A Mind of its Own.

But the answer, if you think about it, is as obvious as the evening news. Human societies are arguably the most complicated systems in the universe, and yet everywhere you look, you find people taking sides, usually according to self interest. Rather than approach problems with an open, experimental attitude, everyone seems convinced that they know the solution to this or that intractable problem in advance. Ideology and partisanship are the rule, and all too often, competing parties resort to violence to press home their case.

What distinguishes scientists isn’t so much the practitioners themselves (scientists are as biased and error-prone as the rest of us) as the way they are arranged. Science is an institution that generally sets the self-serving biases of its members against one another, using time-tested procedures to decide who is right and who is wrong. Like democracy, it can be seen as an institutional prosthesis for our shortcomings. This, apparently, is why human society advanced at a snail’s pace before the advent of science, and so explosively afterward.

Science is also the cruel stranger, the one claim-making institution that reliably produces ugly claims. We thought we were the centre of the universe, then science showed us we were mind-numbingly peripheral. We thought we were crafted in the image of God, then science showed us we were just one organism among many.

And this is what makes the present science-religion debates seem so old-fashioned: They are literally several “uglies” behind the times. Evolution? Please. Believe it or not, the burning question now isn’t whether God exists, but whether we exist – at least in any way that conforms to our traditional and intuitive assumptions. Just as physics showed us that solids are primarily empty space, cognitive science seems to be showing us that selfhood is a kind of user illusion.

Scoff, if you wish. Most people do, for all the reasons I alluded to above. After all, what could more certain (or cherished!) than your tough-minded, critical and enlightened self? The research will continue regardless, and institutions will scour the results looking for competitive advantages. Watch an episode of Intervention recently? Chances are the commercials you see have been placed because a company called Neurofocus has proven that the show’s extreme emotional content makes it easier for advertisers to bypass your brain’s rational decision-making centres.

Scoff, and keep your fingers crossed. Cruel strangers are cruel precisely because they don’t give a damn what you think.

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