The researchers conducted two experiments designed to manipulate how well science or God can be used as explanations. In the first, 129 volunteers read short summaries of the Big Bang theory and the “Primordial Soup Hypothesis,” a scientific theory of the origin of life. Half then read a statement that said that the theories were strong and supported by the data. The other half read that the theories “raised more questions than they answered.”Sounds like voodoo to me. And, while the Big Bang is pretty well attested, the "primordial soup" is not a hypothesis in science; it is a materialist creation story, on the level of the cosmic egg. ("Once upon a time, it all just happened, see .. ")
In the second experiment, which involved 27 undergraduate students, half of the study subjects had to “list six things that you think God can explain.” The others were asked to “list six things that you think can explain or influence God.”
All the subjects were then required to quickly categorize various words as positive or negative on a computer.
“What they didn’t realize was that they were being subliminally primed immediately before each word,” Preston said. “So right before the word ‘awful’ came up on the screen, for example, there was a 15-millisecond flash of either ‘God’ or ‘science’ or a control word.”
A 15-millisecond visual cue is too brief to register in the conscious mind, but the brief word flash did have an effect. Those who had read statements emphasizing the explanatory power of science prior to the test were able to categorize positive words appearing just after the word, “science,” more quickly than those who had read statements critical of the scientific theories.
Those who were asked to use God as an ultimate explanation for various phenomena displayed a more positive association with God and a much more negative association with science than those directed to list other things that can explain God, the researchers found. Similarly, those who read the statement suggesting that the scientific theories were weak were extremely slow to identify negative words that appeared after they were primed with the word “God,” Preston said.
“It was like they didn’t want to say no to God,” she said.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Origin of life: "Primordial soup" belief undermines traditional spirituality?
Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor, alerts us to a study at her university, "God or science? A belief in one weakens positive feelings for the other" (12/15/08):