Psychology’s Fake Superiority Over Religion
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Yet they never learn.
It’s an observational fact that the world is full of religions, which cannot all be true, because they contradict each other. What is it about human nature that makes people around the world seek after the divine? This demands an explanation from thinkers regardless of their religious beliefs.
Creationists regard religiosity as a manifestation of human uniqueness. The image of God implanted into the human soul needs fulfillment, but it has been corrupted by sin, leading to a God-shaped vacuum in the heart that cannot be satisfied by anything less than a restored relationship with the true God. Seeking to fill that vacuum, the father of lies—Satan—has tempted mankind into numerous counterfeits.
Evolutionists, by contrast, posit that every human behavior is a product of natural selection. This presents a challenge; how could natural selection bring about the ascent of Homo religiosis? The standard just-so storytelling plot is that somehow it fostered greater cooperation, which led to greater fitness for the community. At a deeper level, though, Darwinians ought to be asking how atheism evolved. If religion evolved, it must have succeeded universally because it increased fitness. That would make atheists the most unfit of all.
Beset by a Yoda complex, psychologists view themselves as above the fray, able to look down on their fellow humans as products of evolutionary forces from which they subconsciously think they are exempt. The latest example is pretty disgusting.
Disgust drives some religious thoughts and feelings (The Conversation). In this piece, three social scientists, Tom Adams, Patrick Stewart (not the Star Trek actor), and Carl Senior portray their seniority over religion by offering a new theory: religion evolved from the disgust response. “We evolved the emotion of disgust because it can protect us from things that could harm us, such as germ-carrying substances,” they write.
The facial display of disgust, which often involves tightening the upper lip and wrinkling the nose, creates a physical barrier that prevents the intake of potential contaminants. The gag response that we feel when we ingest rotten foods or think about eating disgusting things is a preparatory response to make it easier to expel potentially harmful microbes.
Why, that’s just like how religious people act, isn’t it? In order to present a facade of science, the psychologists conducted interviews on “523 adult undergraduate psychology students at a large southern American university.” They tried to associate the participants’ levels of disgust at ugly pictures with their “religiosity” in order to correlate “fear of God” and “fear of sin” with neutral or disgusting images.
Disgust in response to certain behaviours doesn’t protect you from germs, but it can prevent a psychological form of contamination. Eating a blended cockroach or sleeping in a bed in which someone died the night before are unlikely to physically harm you, but they could make you feel somehow violated, like you have ingested or touched something that you simply shouldn’t have.
This form of disgust doesn’t protect you physically, but it does protect you from psychological harm. This kind of moral sensitivity is an important moderator of our behaviour. In fact, disgust sensitivity can also affect reactions to the behaviours of other people. We can feel disgusted when people break our moral codes, including by pursuing sexual practices we disapprove of.
And thus, religion is disgusting. Why can’t religious people just let go of their hangups, and let everybody enjoy free sex? Those people who keep trying to impose their morality on others are not only intolerant; they are actually dangerous!
Religious beliefs and behaviours are without a doubt influenced by faith and dogma, and are often rooted in centuries of devout practice. At the same time, religious scrupulosity in terms of fear of sin and fear of God may be used to justify extremist beliefs and harmful behaviours, such as discrimination or acts of religious violence. Understanding the role played by the basic emotion of disgust in driving extremist religious beliefs and behaviours may help us address the social harms they cause.
The “researchers” gave themselves an escape hatch in futureware:
Although our research breaks new ground, more is clearly needed to further explore and clarify the effects of disgust on religious fundamentalism and the threats it poses to the average individual and to society.
Ah yes, the word fundamentalism was overdue. Darwinists are beyond that kind of “fundamentalist” behavior. They would never be disgusted at religious people. They are so very tolerant of them. They have no extremist beliefs and participate in no harmful behaviors, such as discrimination. They are no threat to anyone. They do science, not religion. They just want to help the peasants understand how their religion evolved.
Having given these Yoda scientists their say, let us ask them some questions (see “How to Nudge an Elitist,” 11 June 2017 entry).
Good day, Drs Senior, Stewart, and Adams. Interesting presentation Can you take a few questions?
How would you respond to a potential complaint by peers that your sample size was inadequate? Why didn’t you survey any Muslims in Afghanistan, Buddhists in Thailand, or Christians in Nigeria? Why didn’t you interview old people and children? Why didn’t you interview students in other fields besides psychology?
Can you identify sources of bias in your analysis and conclusions?
Are you claiming that the erudite writings of C.S. Lewis have their roots in fear of contamination or disgusting images?
Are you aware that Lewis and many others intimately familiar with Darwinism rejected it in favor of Christianity?
Is Darwinism a dogma? Do you have faith in it?
What do you find disgusting? Fundamentalism, perhaps? What is your reaction when a religious person disgusts you?
Are there any sexual practices you find disgusting?
Do you feel you are subject to the same evolutionary forces that religious people are?
Is your reaction a manifestation of natural selection?
If natural selection made people religious, aren’t they more fit by definition?
Should anyone oppose the forces that made them? Wouldn’t that be immoral?
Since the vast majority of people are religious, does that make you a cooperator or cheater in evolutionary game theory?
Are cooperators or cheaters “better” in this case? Do you measure them by population size? What if the numbers flipped; would they still be better?
Is morality subjective? If so, on what grounds can you call something like fundamentalism a threat? Maybe that’s their moral belief: i.e., their way of manifesting their fitness.
What do you define as “social harm”? Don’t some populations routinely go extinct? Is that bad, if they simply lost out in the fitness race?
If a group of radical Muslims with “extremist religious beliefs” and machine guns eliminated all Darwinians or put them in re-education camps, would that be wrong? On what grounds? What if they are the fittest? From their point of view, wouldn’t it remove a disgusting threat?
Is truth subjective? Doesn’t it evolve like everything else?
In your epistemology, is it important to be consistent?
Has anyone explained to you how evolving truth or morality is self-defeating, and would render your theory nonsense?
It’s not like psychology doesn’t have its own sins and failures to confess:
In court, far-reaching psychology tests are unquestioned (Arizona State University via Phys.org). Psychologists’ opinions are unreliable but treated as fact in courts.
While increasingly used in courts, new research shows the tests are not all scientifically valid, and once introduced into a case they are rarely challenged, according to Tess Neal, an assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University.
“Given the stakes involved one would think the validity of such tests would always be sound,” Neal said. “But we found widespread variability in the underlying scientific validity of these tests.”
The problem is made worse because the courts are not separating the good from the bad.
Controversial psychology tests are often still used in US courts (New Scientist). They’re still using the old Rorshach inkblot test, for crying out loud. “The most problematic tests are usually those that are too subjective, says Neal.” But the word of psychologists is rarely questioned.
In a further part to their study, the team searched a legal database of all US state and federal court cases from 2016 to 2018. They found that psychological tests are challenged in court in only 5 per cent of cases, and such challenges succeed only a third of the time. “Judges are supposed to screen out bad science,” says Neal. “They’re generally not even questioning it, never mind screening it out.”
May we ask you a few more questions?
Do you feel any guilt about promulgating fake science? Have you considered the possibility that you have been deceived by Satan, and are guilty of being a false teacher?
Has anyone told you that God loves you, and forgives sins?
Would you like to pray right now? Try, “God be merciful to me, the sinner.” (See Luke 18:9-14.)
Did you know that Jesus, who gave that parable, died on the cross to pay your penalty for sin?
Would you like to repent of your evolutionism, and accept his gracious offer of forgiveness?