Science on Religion Research News
BREAKING NEWS: Religious children don't share stickers
- Published: 20 November 2015
- Written by Joseph Allen
- Hits: 6045
Many people believe that religion teaches children to be just and moral. Even if adherents dispense with the unscientific dogma, there’s a lingering sense that religious tradition is necessary to hold society together. Jean Decety disagrees. The distinguished neuroscientist recently led a worldwide study which, according to his team, shows the opposite is true: kids brought up outside the faith are more “prosocial” because they are more generous and less punitive than those raised in religious households. Therefore, the authors assert, a secular society will produce kinder people. Cue group hug and drop the needle on John Lennon's “Imagine.” But what if Decety's entire approach is skewed by faulty definitions of “prosociality”?
When being unfalsifiable is a good thing
- Published: 09 June 2015
- Written by Chris Halloran
- Hits: 7862
Common knowledge says that you believe what you’re taught, or what your gut tells you is right, or – better yet – what the facts tell you is true. We say that we believe things because we have reasons to believe them, and common knowledge says that if the facts change, our beliefs will change, too. This idea is called falsifiability. The problem is that a lot of our beliefs are unfalsifiable, which means there's no way to test whether they’re right or wrong. And this can be a problem, particularly if it leads to extremism and dogmatism. So unfalsifiability is often seen as a bad thing. But could it actually be a good thing when unfalsifiable ideas unite a community or nation?
A farewell and reflection on the scientific study of religion
- Published: 13 May 2015
- Written by Nicholas C. DiDonato
- Hits: 7829
After five years of working for Science on Religion, my time here is at an end. Over these five years, I have reported on a wide variety of findings and arguments from the field of the scientific study of religion, the field that employs the sciences to study religion. Rather than report on yet another study, I would like to step back and reflect on the field of the scientific study of religion as a whole. In a nutshell, I offer a sort of “the good,” “the bad,” and “the ugly” of the scientific study of religion.
Meditation may help mitigate anger towards unfairness
- Published: 16 March 2015
- Written by Nicholas C. DiDonato
- Hits: 7983
Buddhists practice meditation in order to cultivate a state of calmness and compassion. Through this mental technique, they train the mind to stay focused and ethical, regardless of what the world throws at them. In theory, then, Buddhist practitioners should display greater levels of compassion and kindness than those who do not practice any sort of meditation at all. To test this, social neuroscientist Cade McCall and colleagues compared meditation practitioners with non-practitioners and found that those who practice meditation emotionally handle unfairness better than those who do not practice meditation.
- Published: 08 September 2012
- Written by Wesley Wildman
- Hits: 23093
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