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Author Topic:   Born believers: How your brain creates God
Member (Idle past 156 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004

Message 63 of 74 (907931)
03-02-2023 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by Phat
03-02-2023 9:42 AM

Social Sciences
Phat writes:
Are the social sciences scientific?
This is how the social sciences are scientific:
  • There are our best known method for identifying information about society
  • They use transparent methods (ie - the process can be duplicated by others or criticized or identified as erroneous)
  • Results are recorded and can be discussed in terms appropriate to the methods used
  • As we learn better and better methods, these can be incorporated into the social sciences
This is how the social sciences are not-scientific:
  • It is harder to "measure" how someone feels (ie - are you happy? On a scale of 1-10: how happy? Would you say you're more or less happy than that guy over there?) vs how much liquid is in a beaker (everyone gets the same measurements of mass or volume...).
    Measuring things like happiness, or other social-related things, is really difficult. If someone's sad one day, and happy the next - what will their answer be to you if you ask them the first day vs. the next? What is the "real" answer? Is your "8" the same as my "8?" Are we even using the same scale?
  • There are financial pressures from companies to abuse this difficulty and pressure the methodology developers and implementers into a result they want rather than the "real" result.
  • Financial pressures can also make it difficult to duplicate a result - if a company gets the result they want, why would they pay to have a chance of the "real" result not being what they already have a report for?
Luckily, the transparent part of Science is still included - so these difficulties and pressures are known and (usually) listed. Going through the methodology for a hard-science paper is much easier - again, everyone gets the same result for measuring mass or volume. However, going through the methodology for a social-science is much more difficult. Did they attempt a different way of measuring "happiness?" Who paid for the methodology and did they have a hand in it or a conflict of interest?
Even if the problems are transparent and listed - how many people read through a methodology vs. just seeing the result and getting to say "Look! Look! The science supports meeeee!!!"
The good news is that science is self correcting - things will, and always do - get better, due to transparency and reproduction of results.
The bad news is that this takes time - it could be years or decades or even longer before everyone can trust the immediate results of the social sciences the way we can trust the immediate results of hard-sciences.
To say all social sciences should be accepted without question is pretty out there.
However, to say that all social sciences should be thrown out and can't be trusted - is equally out there (there certainly are "good ones.")
For now, it is prudent to scrutinize the methodology and look for any of the known possible issues.
This is generally done with the hard-sciences as well - it's just (currently) a lot easier for issues to occur in the social sciences.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Phat, posted 03-02-2023 9:42 AM Phat has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 64 by Tanypteryx, posted 03-02-2023 12:11 PM Stile has seen this message but not replied
 Message 66 by Phat, posted 03-02-2023 2:22 PM Stile has replied

Member (Idle past 156 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004

Message 72 of 74 (907950)
03-03-2023 8:22 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by Phat
03-02-2023 2:22 PM

Re: Social Sciences
Phat writes:
And how would one go about measuring a claim of being "Born Again"?
It starts by showing that it actually exists. Something you can show that links it to reality. Once you have that - then methods for measurement can be derived.
1) Compare the overall "happiness" of believers vs non believers. But this too runs into problems.
Yes, issues exist.
However, our best studies in attempts to compensate as best we can for these issues show that non-believers are happier than believers.
(Ironically - ) This, actually, would be evidence for me to believe in God - if it could be shown that Christians "do better" in general than atheists and other religions. But, they don't, do they?
Secular Societies Fare Better Than Religious Societies
  • I wouldn't put too much stock in the flashy title on this one - it's more of an article than it is a study, so the title is intended to 'grab you'
  • This one isn't so much showing theist vs atheist, it's more showing that more-religious areas "do worse" than less-religious areas. "Less religious" here doesn't mean "atheist" (although more atheists would be in those areas.) It means things like non-Bible-Belt states. Christianity is still the more popular religion, but not as prevalent and not as fundamental.
  • The idea shown here is that moving towards secularity does not hurt society. And, in fact, it helps it.
This one is really interesting: Are believers happier than atheists?
  • An actual study on theists vs atheists in Puerto Rico (think Bible-Belt or even worse for societies that prosecute atheists.)
  • If interested, I highly recommend reading the Discussion section at the bottom. It reviews the Results (don't even need to read the Results section) as well as explaining and providing context.
  • Results are, basically, that atheists and theists are pretty much the same as far as Quality of Life measurements go... and this is in areas where "being atheist" can get you savagely beaten or even killed.
  • Both atheists and theists are measured as being "extremely high" in life satisfaction and psychologically flourishing. This is the part that completely shows you're wrong - being an atheist does impact one's thinking and the way they lead their lives - just as much as it does with Christianity.
  • Christians scored slightly higher for life satisfaction
  • Atheists scored slightly higher for psychological flourishing
  • Again - this is in an area where being an atheist can cause extreme social discrimination leading to depression - imagine if that wasn't the case!
As the studies show - it's either equivalent or better (for atheists.)
Message 2153
EVERYBODY can be happy one day and sad the next. EVERYBODY can do good deeds.
EVERYBODY worships something.
This is equivalent to an addicted drinker saying "everybody drinks!"
No - they don't.
Just because you have foibles that consume your life doesn't mean everyone does.
Yes - there are some atheists who "worship" things like money or perhaps themselves. Just as their are Christians who worship money or themselves more than they worship God.
There are also many atheists who do not worship anything at all - it's not all that rare.
Just like there are many people who do not drink anything at all - it's not all that rare.
There are also Christians who do not worship God or anything at all - although they are sort of rare, due to the definitional circumstances.
Try not to put your issues onto everyone else.
It's a scape-goat you're creating in order to make it seem "more normal" for you to have those issues. It's factually wrong, and it's hurting your own self-image.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Phat, posted 03-02-2023 2:22 PM Phat has seen this message but not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by Dredge, posted 03-23-2023 2:00 PM Stile has replied

Member (Idle past 156 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004

Message 74 of 74 (908922)
03-23-2023 2:34 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by Dredge
03-23-2023 2:00 PM

Re: Social Sciences
Dredge writes:
It's the difference between "believing" and "worshipping."
It's quite possible to believe in God, and be a Christian, and not worship God.
-however, as already noted, it is rare in comparison to the average Christian lifestyle
You could even say that most Christians, at some point in their Christian journey, believed in God but didn't worship Him.
Think of the average beginning of any Christian's journey - they would become aware and interested in God.. then they would believe in God... then they would become a Christian... (at this point they are a Christian who believes in God but doesn't worship God)... as their Christian journey continues they would learn how to worship God and begin worshipping God.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by Dredge, posted 03-23-2023 2:00 PM Dredge has not replied

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